• Article

Identity gaps and level of depression among Korean immigrants

Identity gaps are a new theoretical construct that provide a framework for integrating communication into the study of identity and understanding the relationship between identity and health outcomes, such as depression. Derived from the communication theory of identity, identity gaps emerge when elements of identity are inconsistent with each other. This article focuses on 2 types of identity gaps, personal-enacted and personal-relational, examining their relationships with situational variables and depression. A questionnaire was administered to a community sample of 377 Korean immigrants to test a hypothesized path model predicting that 3 situational variables (intercultural communication competence, middleperson status, and perception of racial hierarchy) would influence the identity gaps that, in turn, influence Korean immigrants' levels of depression. Results showed that all 3 situational variables predicted Korean immigrants' personal-relational identity gaps, whereas only intercultural communication competence predicted their personal-enacted identity gaps. Both types of identity gaps predicted the level of depression. The personal-relational identity gap significantly mediated the effects of all 3 situational variables on levels of depression. However, the personal-enacted identity gap mediated only the effects of intercultural communication competence on the levels of depression


Jung, E., & Hecht, M. (2008). Identity gaps and level of depression among Korean immigrants. Health Communication, 23(4), 313-325. https://doi.org/10.1080/10410230802229688

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