25-04-2019 | Original Paper
Colorizing self-esteem among African American young women: Linking skin tone, parental support, and sexual health
Gepubliceerd in: Journal of Child and Family Studies | Uitgave 7/2019Log in om toegang te krijgen
Issues around skin tone and colorism have generated much discussion in popular culture outlets and empirical research. This work has focused primarily on the continued significance of skin tone across the life course for women of color. Yet, few studies have examined the implications of skin tone on sexual health.
Using data from a longitudinal study of 397 African American young women, we examined a prospective model in which self-esteem was a psychological mediator through which skin tone influenced negative sexual behavior and sexual health outcomes. In addition, we investigated parental support and racial identity as moderators that act as protective factors to buffer the effects of an individual’s skin tone on self-esteem thus influencing sexual health outcomes.
Results indicated that skin tone was linked to sexual behavior and negative sexual health outcomes indirectly through its association with self-esteem. Further, when parental support was high, a weaker link emerged between skin tone and self-esteem. Findings suggest high parental support may be advantageous for darker skin young women because it serves as a protective factor that buffers the impact of skin tone on self-esteem. Results, however, showed no evidence of moderation for racial identity.
Future research on African American young women should focus on the effects of skin tone alone or in combination with self-esteem and parental support given its link to sexual health.