Emotional distress among the Bedouin Arab and Jewish elderly in Israel: The roles of gender, discrimination, and self-esteem

Sarah Abu-Kaf, Ora Nakash, Tsachi Hayat, Michal Cohen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations

Abstract

Mental-health problems are common among older adults, especially those who are members of disadvantaged ethnic minorities. We explored ethnic and gender differences in emotional distress, perceived discrimination, and self-esteem among elderly Bedouin Arab and Jewish individuals in Israel, as well as the moderating role of discrimination in the association between self-esteem and emotional distress among Bedouin Arabs. The sample included 256 older adults (60 years old and above): 147 native-born Israeli Jews and 109 Bedouin Arabs. Participants completed self-report questionnaires that assessed emotional distress, perceived discrimination, self-esteem, and sociodemographic factors. Israeli Jews reported lower levels of emotional distress than Bedouin Arabs. Bedouin Arab women reported more emotional distress than Bedouin Arab men. Among the Bedouin Arabs, gender differences were found in the associations of perceived discrimination and self-esteem with emotional distress. Among the Bedouin men, discrimination and self-esteem were found to be significant predictors of emotional distress. Among the Bedouin women, we found a similar association between self-esteem and emotional distress. However, the protective role of self-esteem disappeared in the context of higher levels of daily discrimination. This study underscores how gender can affect the moderating role of discrimination in the association between self-esteem and emotional distress among the elderly.

Original languageEnglish
Article number113203
JournalPsychiatry Research
Volume291
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2020

Keywords

  • Bedouin Arab
  • Discrimination
  • Elderly
  • Emotional distress
  • Self-esteem

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry

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