Does emotion regulation moderate the discrimination-adjustment link for adopted Korean American adolescents?


Growing up in a White family does not necessarily protect internationally adopted Korean Americans raised in White families from the pernicious effects of discrimination. Emotion regulation strategies may buffer the effects of discrimination on psychological adjustment, yet little research has been conducted on these links. To fill this gap, we examined the relationship between emotion regulation, discrimination and psychological adjustment in a sample of adopted Korean American adolescents (N = 115). Using both parent and adopted child reports across 2 waves of data (7 years apart), we addressed 2 questions. First, what are the different emotion regulation profiles and how do they correspond to psychological adjustment? Second, controlling for adjustment in childhood, do these emotion regulation profiles moderate the association between discrimination and psychological adjustment? We found 3 distinct profiles using cluster analysis: high reappraisal/low suppression (HR/LS), high reappraisal/moderate suppression (HR/MS), and moderate reappraisal/moderate suppression (MR/MS). The HR/LS profile showed the best adjustment, whereas the MR/MS profile reported the most adjustment problems. However, emotion regulation profiles did not moderate the association between perceived discrimination and psychological adjustment. Impact Statement What is the public significance of this article?-The current study seeks to advance research in transracial adoptees’ unique postadoption racial experience. We uncovered 3 distinct combinations of emotion regulation strategies that transracial Korean American adoptees use to cope with situational cues-including discrimination. Each of these emotion regulation profiles was associated with differential patterns of adjustment.