Date of Award

Spring 2021

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Torres, Lucas

Second Advisor

de St. Aubin, Ed.

Third Advisor

Oswald, Debra


Over the past two decades, there has been an increase in racial and ethnic minorities attending college (Davis & Fry, 2019). Unfortunately, racial and ethnic minority students are at higher risk for depression symptoms and are less likely to seek out services to address these symptoms (Hope et al., 2018). A possible contributing factor to elevated depression symptoms in this population is exposure to racial and ethnic discrimination, which has repeatedly been linked to increased depression symptoms (Araújo & Borrell, 2006; Chou et al., 2012). Previous literature suggests that community involvement may serve as a buffer or a pathway for the negative consequences of experiences of discrimination given its connection to positive social and mental health outcomes (Earnshaw et al., 2016; Hull et al., 2008; Solomon et al., 1987). The purpose of the current study was to better understand the role of community involvement in the relationship between discrimination and depression symptoms among racial and ethnic minority college students. This study included 204 racial and ethnic minority students recruited from a predominately White university in the Midwest. Participants completed self-report questionnaire measures. Moderation analyses via OLS regressions and simple mediation analyses were calculated with PROCESS, which tests indirect effects with bootstrapping. Community involvement did not moderate the relationship between discrimination and depression. However, community involvement mediated the relationship between overt discrimination and depression (Effect = -.664, 95% CI = -1.611, -.031). Community involvement also mediated the relationship between racial and ethnic microaggressions and depression (Effect = -.63, 95% CI = -1.36, -.058).Community involvement served as a mediator between experiences of discrimination (i.e., microaggressions and overt) and depression symptoms. These findings suggest that elements of community involvement may be important in alleviating the negative mental health outcomes experienced by racial and ethnic minority students given its ability to link experiences of discrimination and depression symptoms. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.

Included in

Psychology Commons