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The Role of Self-Construals in the Link Between Anger Regulation and Externalizing Problems in Korean American Adolescents: Testing a Moderated Mediation Model


  • This research was supported by the National Institute of Mental Health (R03MH071407) and by the Asian American Center on Disparities Research (National Institute of Mental Health grant: 1P50MH073511-01A2).

  • We appreciate the cooperation of the families who participated in this research. We also would like to thank Kris Preacher and Andrew Hayes for statistical consultation as well as Su Yeong Kim for feedback on a previous version of this manuscript.

Please address correspondence to: Irene J. K. Park, Department of Psychology, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN 46556. E-mail:



The present study had two primary aims: (a) to test the mediating role of anger regulation in the relation between family processes and externalizing problems; (b) to test the moderating role of culture (specifically, independent and interdependent self-construals) in the relation between anger regulation and symptomatology via a moderated mediation model.


The sample comprised 166 Korean American adolescents (54.2% male), who were recruited from the Midwestern region of the United States. Adolescents’ ages ranged from 11-15 years old (M = 13.0 years; SD = 1.2). Cross-sectional data were collected via adolescent self-report questionnaires.


Results indicated that the anger regulation variables (either individually or collectively) mediated the influence of family processes (i.e., family conflict, family cohesion, and father-adolescent communication) on externalizing problems. Moreover, 2 indirect effects on externalizing problems were conditional upon adolescents’ independent self-construal.


These findings suggest that clinical intervention efforts for addressing externalizing problems may benefit from targeting anger regulation strategies. However, such interventions should be tailored to consider cultural context, since mediation effects may be moderated by cultural factors such as self-construal.