Stress and Health Among Racial/Ethnic Minorities: The Role of Cultural Mismatch



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



Stress is a strong risk factor for poor health outcomes and is widely regarded as a main culprit in the alarming rates of health disparities among ethnoracial minorities (Schneiderman, Ironson, and Siegel, 2005). In order to better understand the association between stress and poor health, it is crucial to examine the role of contextual factors (Todorova, et al., 2013) in ethnoracial minority populations. One phenomenon that can potentially shed light on the association between stress and health is that of “cultural mismatch,” which posits that individuals experience psychological distress when their cultural values, customs, and beliefs are incongruent with their environmental context (Halpern-Felsher et al., 1997). Although previous studies have shown that cognitive vulnerabilities mediate the association between stress and health (Manack et al., 2013), no studies to the best of my knowledge have accounted for cultural mismatch in this stress to poor health process. Thus, the current study examined if the extent to which cognitive vulnerability mediates the stress to poor health process is contingent on differing levels of independent self-construal among ethnoracially diverse individuals. The results showed that when predicting health perception, both the overall model (R2= 0.26, df = 5, 462, F = 32.21, p < .0001) and the moderated mediation were significant (b=0.058, SE=0.035, 95% CI [0.002, 0.143]). Further inspection of the interaction showed that the association between stress and cognitive vulnerabilities was stronger for those with lower levels of independent self-construal (b = 3.61, t = 5.22, p < .001) relative to persons who reported higher independent self-construal (b = 1.24, t= 2.64, p < .001).



Cross-cultural mental health