A recent study finds that the vast majority of Black adolescents have experienced racism, that they experience anticipatory stress about experiencing racism again, and that their racial identity can influence that stress in a variety of ways.
“We know that racism is stressful,” says Elan Hope, corresponding author of the study and an associate professor of psychology at North Carolina State University. “Part of that stress is anticipatory—waiting for the next racist thing to happen. But not everyone experiences this stress the same way. We wanted to know how racial identity may influence the way teens experience this stress. Can racial identity buffer them from this type of stress? Can it make it worse? The answer is complicated.”
To that end, the researchers conducted an in-depth survey of 442 Black adolescents between the ages of 14 and 17. The survey included questions about each participant’s experiences with racism; various aspects of their racial identity; and questions aimed at understanding the extent to which they experienced anticipatory racism-related stress.
The researchers focused on three aspects of racial identity: centrality, private regard and public regard. Centrality is how important being Black is to a study participant’s sense of self. Private regard is how the participant feels about Black people in general. Public regard is how the participant thinks other people feel about Black people in general.
The researchers also examined four aspects of anticipatory stress: psychological stress; physiological stress; “perseverative cognition”—when you can’t stop thinking about something; and “secondary appraisal”—which assesses the extent to which someone effectively evaluates their ability to prevent or reduce harm caused by a racism-related event.
Ninety-four percent of the study participants reported experiencing racism.
“We found that racial identity is a mixed bag when it comes to its relationship with anticipatory stress,” Hope says.
Read the complete article at: Phys