TitleThe relationship of skin tone to physical and mental health outcomes in South Asian Americans
NameBhagwat, Ranjit (author), Kelly, Shalonda (chair), Sanchez, Diana T (internal member), Woolfolk, Robert L (internal member), Okazaki, Sumie (outside member), Rutgers University, Graduate School - New Brunswick,
South Asian Americans--Mental health,
Human skin color--Social aspects,
DescriptionSince 1990, the South Asian population in America has exhibited massive growth, as large numbers of immigrants from India, Pakistan, and other South Asian countries have arrived in the United States. Yet limited empirical psychological research has been conducted assessing race-related stressors in this population. Skin tone (skin color) has been linked frequently with physical and mental health outcomes in other American ethnic minority populations, such that dark skin tone typically correlates with poor outcomes. The present study demonstrated, in a relatively large sample of South Asian Americans, that darkness of skin tone negatively predicted self-esteem and self-rated physical health. Contrary to expectations, dark skin tone positively predicted general mental health. The study also investigates the mediation role of perceived discrimination and body image disturbance in these relationships, as well as the moderating roles of gender, socioeconomic status, and ethnic identification. The relationship of dark skin tone to low self-esteem, but not low self-rated physical health or high general mental health, was mediated via increased body image disturbance. Ethnic identification moderated the positive association between dark skin tone and general mental health, such that this association was strong at low levels of ethnic identification and reversed for individuals of high ethnic identification. Neither gender nor ethnic identification moderated the negative associations between dark skin tone and low self-rated physical health or low self-esteem. Implications and recommendations are discussed.
NoteIncludes bibliographical references
Noteby Ranjit Bhagwat
CollectionGraduate School - New Brunswick Electronic Theses and Dissertations
Organization NameRutgers, The State University of New Jersey
RightsThe author owns the copyright to this work.