A socio-cultural tension and coping model to understand emotional distress in caregivers of family members who have dementia through ethnic and cultural groups is introduced and discussed in a study of 41 African American and 128 non-African American carers. In this sample, African American caregivers reported lower levels of burden but equal levels of depression and anxiety. In the structural equation model, previous reports that African Americans’ lower appraisal of caregiving as burdensome resulted in lower levels of emotional distress were confirmed. However, in this model, this pathway was counterbalanced by a tendency of African American caregivers to use emotion-focused coping and, therefore, increase emotional distress. African American caregivers were also younger and in poorer health, factors which tend to increase both burden and emotional distress outcomes. As suggested by the sociocultural stress and coping model, the influences of ethnic group variables on stress and coping processes are complex and multidirectional.