Academic journal article Journal of the Indian Academy of Applied Psychology

Relationship between Perceived Discrimination and Depression: Moderating Role of Belief in Just World among Transgender in Punjab

Academic journal article Journal of the Indian Academy of Applied Psychology

Relationship between Perceived Discrimination and Depression: Moderating Role of Belief in Just World among Transgender in Punjab

Article excerpt

Discrimination refers to different components of group opposition when studying inter-group relations (McKenzie, 2003), that is, studying attitudes and behaviors exhibited by members of one group towards members of another group (Taylor, Peplau, & Sears, 2000). Discrimination in the present context is defined as the behavioral component of group opposition when studying inter-group relations, focusing on perceptions by minority group members who believe they are receiving discriminatory treatment from members of the majority group (Lee, Noh, Yoo, & Sim-Doh, 2007). In the present article, relationship of perceived discrimination with depression was studied among transgender persons. Depression is viewed as sensitivity towards dysphoria, worthlessness, self-criticism, devaluation of life, apathy, anhedonia and lack of attention (Lovibond & Lovibond, 1995). American Psychiatric Association (2001) describes the symptoms that can be consistently observed in depression including feelings of worthlessness, fatigue, diminished ability to think or focus feelings of hopelessness and loss of energy. Depression may be caused by traumatic experiences among the transgender, as they encounter a wide variety of discriminatory behavior in their daily life.

When an individual experiences discrimination it leads to depression. However, belief in the just world may play moderating role to minimize their effect. Belief in just world (BJW) is defined as a belief where human beings have to think that they live in a world where people generally deserve what they get and get what they deserve (Lerner & Miller, 1978). All societies demonstrate inequalities and injustices, the disproportionate distribution of wealth, and inequality of access to health care and education. Individuals respond differently to observed or experienced injustice and some individuals adopt belief systems that serve to justify existing social, economic and political arrangements (Jost, Banaji, & Nosek, 2004). People have prejudiced observation of fairness for self, world and other world (Lerner, 1980). Dalbert (1999) argued that a difference should be made between the BJW for one's own self (Personal BJW) and the General BJW. The BJW for self is related with whether an individual believes that on an average events of his/her personal life are fair; while General BJW reveals the belief that on the whole this world is a fair place (Dzuka & Dalbert, 2002).

Research by Fisher, Wallace, & Fenton (2000) revealed that discrimination is linked with depression. Researchers reported that there is significant relationship of discrimination with depressive symptoms (Han & Lee, 2011; Lee & Ahn, 2011; Taylor & Turner, 2002). A study by Wei, Heppner, Ku, & Liao (2010) also indicated that there was a positive relationship of discrimination's stress and depressive symptoms. Studies have focused on negative outcomes of perceived discrimination as depression (Huebner & Davis, 2007). Cross sectional and longitudinal studies revealed that exposure of discrimination is positively linked with impaired mental health outcomes like depressive symptoms (Burgos & Rivera 2009; Rivera, Lopez, Guarnaccia, Rafael, Glorisa, & Hector, 2011; Williams & Mohammed, 2009). Some studies describe psychological impact of discriminatory behavior on depression (Sellers & Shelton, 2003); results indicated that discrimination predicted increased depression (Cassidy, O'Connor, Howe, & Warden, 2004). Another research revealed that perceived discrimination has been identified as one of the potential social risk factors of physical and mental health (Chakraborty & McKenzie, 2002).

Perception of discrimination is found to be more strongly linked with psychiatric symptoms of depression among minorities (Landrine, Klonoff, Corral, Fernandez, & Roesch, 2006; Plant & Sachs-Ericsson, 2004). Perception of discrimination among minorities has been associated with symptoms of depression (Kessler, Mickelson, & Williams, 1999). …

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