In or Out of the Game? Counter-Stereotype Paradoxes and Asian-Identified Student-Athlete Mental Health

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    2 Scopus citations


    Objective: This study examines stressors (i.e., discrimination and stereotypes) and buffers (i.e., exercise) relevant to Asian-identified student-athletes’ mental health. The study tests a set of counter-stereotype paradox hypotheses positing that conforming to idealized stereotypes of Asians exacerbates discriminationmental health links. Method: Data were drawn from the 2015–2019 cohorts of the Healthy Minds Study. Regression-based moderations were used to test counter-stereotype paradox hypotheses and a buffering model of exercise. Results: A-student status was a moderator of the discrimination and lower positive mental health link, and gender and body mass index (BMI) were moderators of the discrimination and anxiety and lower positive mental health links. Consistent with counter-stereotype paradoxes, discrimination and these mental health indicators were significantly correlated for Asian-identified student-athletes who reported being A-students or being underweight/normal-weight women. Results contradicted the counter-stereotype paradox for the discrimination–suicidality relation, which was significant for studentathletes reporting B-grades or lower and not significant for A-students. Exercise appeared to buffer discrimination-mental health associations for depression, anxiety, positive mental health, and disordered eating concerns. Conclusions: Results challenge the oft-celebrated Asian American model minority image and signify how both conforming and failing to conform to stereotypes can have benefits and liabilities for Asian-identified student-athletes

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)579-592
    Number of pages14
    JournalCultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology
    Issue number4
    StatePublished - 2021


    • Asian
    • counter-stereotype paradox
    • exercise
    • mental health
    • student-athlete

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Social Psychology
    • Sociology and Political Science


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