Date Thesis Awarded
Honors Thesis -- Access Restricted On-Campus Only
Bachelors of Science (BS)
Stress, coping, and mental health in general may differ based on cultural background, specifically for Western and South Asian cultures. Past literature has established that South Asians generally hold strong beliefs about the importance of and obligation to family (Bhattacharya & Schoppelrey, 2004; Karasz et al., 2019; Laungani, 1993). Thus, I hypothesized that participants of South Asian Descent would be more likely to endorse symptoms related to stress, with particular emphasis on family and academic stressors. Participants of European Descent (N = 91) and South Asian Descent (N = 45) responded to a Qualtrics survey disseminated throughout social media. The survey asked about sources of stress the respondents experienced and the intensities of each stressor, as well as any coping mechanisms they used. The survey also included the DASS-21 questionnaire as a standardized measure of depression, anxiety, and stress. Participants of European Descent were more likely to report stress about academics; there were no other significant findings regarding stressors. With regards to DASS-21 scores, intensity of mental health-related stress consistently predicted anxiety, depression, and stress scale scores; anxiety was additionally related to family and academic stressor intensity, while depression was linked to intensity of family- and future-related stress. Findings did not differ by race. Coping mechanisms were more likely to be mentioned by respondents of European Descent than those of South Asian Descent and the most common technique was mental disengagement. The lack of differences between the populations of South Asian Descent and European Descent imply that our similarities outnumber our differences. This study furthers the literature on cross-cultural research on anxiety, depression, and stress.
Vanka, Anisha, "Cultural Variations in Experiences of Stress in a Diverse Sample of Adults" (2022). Undergraduate Honors Theses. William & Mary. Paper 1831.
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