This study explored 1) how key constructs of racial identity – centrality, private regard, and public regard – relate to reports of everyday discrimination, perceived stress, and self-esteem among a sample of African American adolescents, and 2) how their report of racial socialization impacted the observed outcomes, both directly and through its interaction with racial identity.
Methods: This study used cross-sectional data from the 2001 – 2004 National Survey of American Life - Adolescent Supplement. Of those participants in the larger survey, only the subset who self-identified as “African American” were included in this research (N = 810). Of this sample, the mean age was 14.9, and 50.9% were female. High school students comprised the majority of the sample, being 68.4% of respondents.
Key variables were identified in the dataset based on the study hypothesis. Relevant data was extracted from the larger dataset for analysis. A series of multivariate linear regression models were then run to determine the relationship between the identified predictor variables (age, education, gender, racial socialization, and racial identity) and the outcome variables (perceived stress, daily discrimination, and self-esteem).
Results: Overall results of the multivariate linear regression found that higher racial centrality was associated with greater day-to-day discrimination (B = .912, p <.05), and greater perceived stress (B = 2.112, p < .05). Greater private racial regard was associated with lower reports of discrimination (B = -2.348, p < .001), reduced perceived stress (B = -4.353, p < .01), and improved self-esteem (B = .186, p < .01). Higher public regard served to protect respondents from everyday discrimination (B = -.708, p < .05), but it did not significantly impact perceived stress or self-esteem. Lastly, racial socialization was found to offer promotive effects against discrimination (B = -.915, p < .05), and to moderate the relationship between private regard and everyday discrimination (B = 1.7556, p < .05) in such a way that private regard exhibited greater benefits for those who reported high levels of racial socialization.
Conclusions and Implications: The findings suggest that racial identity and racial socialization, while complex, can offer significant promotive effects to African American adolescents. Future studies could broaden the constructs of racial socialization and ethnic-racial identity to be more inclusive of additional concepts, like ideology and socialization methods, allowing for a more robust inquiry into their potential to bolster the psychosocial well-being of Black adolescents.