Date of Award

Spring 2012

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science



First Advisor

Janet Chang


Past research has established that appropriate, successful use of both primary and secondary control is associated with fewer symptoms of anxiety in Whites, but there has been less research on the nature of this relationship in Latinos and Asian Americans. This study investigated how Latinos and Asian Americans differ in their use of primary and secondary control as well as how these differences are related to symptoms of social anxiety. The sample consisted of 142 Latino and 446 Asian American undergraduate students, who completed an online survey (e.g., measures assessing demographics, control, anxiety). Consistent with hypotheses, results showed that Latinos engaged in primary control to a greater extent than Asian Americans did, but Asian Americans tended to use secondary control to a greater extent than Latinos. As expected, Asian Americans scored higher on measures of social anxiety than Latinos, which may potentially be related to the importance of “face” in Asian culture. Results did not support the hypothesis that this difference in levels of social anxiety could be explained by ethnic differences in primary or secondary control. In both ethnic groups, less social anxiety was associated with higher usage of primary control, rather than secondary control. Future research should investigate the importance of primary control in lessening social anxiety as well as the influence of face loss concerns as an alternative explanatory factor.


Senior thesis completed at Trinity College for the degree of Bachelor of Science in Psychology.