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Racial discrimination is a pervasive stressor that can undermine mental health among African American youth and young adults. Several studies identify links between racial discrimination and depressive symptoms; however, this research base does not focus on male African American youth who experience significant racism-related stress during the transition to young adulthood. Moreover, few prospective studies consider significant confounding variables that affect exposure to and perception of discriminatory treatment. In response to this need, we examined the effect of exposure to racial discrimination from ages 16 to 18 on depressive symptoms among male African Americans at age 20. Racial self-concept, one’s sense of positivity about one’s race, was examined as a mediator and self-control as a moderator. Hypotheses were tested with 222 participants, age 16 at baseline and age 20 at the endpoint. Participants provided self-report data at five time points. Exposure to racial discrimination from ages 16 to 18 predicted depressive symptoms at age 20, net of confounding influences. Racial self-concept mediated this effect. Self-control moderated the influence of discrimination on racial self-concept. This study underscores the salience of racial discrimination in the development of depressive symptoms among African American male youth and the clinical utility of interventions targeting racial pride and self-control.
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- Racial Microstressors, Racial Self-Concept, and Depressive Symptoms Among Male African Americans During the Transition to Adulthood
Steven M. Kogan
Kimberly A. Allen
Gene H. Brody
- Springer US