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Child Dev. 2002 Jul-Aug;73(4):1322-36.

Racial identity, maternal support, and psychological distress among African American adolescents.

Author information

1
Department of Health Behavior and Health Education, University of Michigan, School of Public Health, Ann Arbor 48109-2029, USA. cleoc@umich.edu

Abstract

This study investigated the role of racial identity and maternal support in reducing psychological distress among African American adolescents. Both direct and indirect influences of multiple dimensions of racial identity (i.e., centrality, private regard) and maternal support on perceived stress, depressive symptoms, and anxiety were examined among 521 African American twelfth graders. Findings indicated that maternal support was positively related to both centrality and private regard. Results provided little support for a direct association between racial identity or maternal support and depressive symptoms and anxiety within a multivariate context. Rather, the influences of racial identity attitudes and maternal support on these mental health outcomes were mediated by perceived stress. Further, the two racial identity attitudes were associated with perceived stress in different ways. Study findings suggest that the significance and meaning that African American adolescents attribute to being Black may be critical to their psychological well-being, and that maternal support and perceived stress are important considerations.

PMID:
12146750
DOI:
10.1111/1467-8624.00474
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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