Collective ethnic-racial identity and health outcomes among African American youth: Examination of promotive and protective effects.

Research paper by Tamika C B TCB Zapolski, Marcy R MR Beutlich, Sycarah S Fisher, Jessica J Barnes-Najor

Indexed on: 18 Dec '18Published on: 18 Dec '18Published in: Cultural diversity & ethnic minority psychology


Racial discrimination is associated with numerous negative health outcomes, including increased risk for depression and anxiety symptoms and substance use. Positive affect toward of one's ethnic or racial group (i.e., ethnic-racial identity affirmation) has been shown to buffer the negative effects of racial discrimination on health outcomes. The extent to which one believes his or her group is valued by others (i.e., positive collective ethnic-racial identity) has also been proposed to be protective. However, to date a limited body of research has examined the moderating effect of collective ethnic-racial identity on health, and among available studies, findings are mixed. African American youth (N = 612; 58.2% female, M grade = 8) completed measures on experiences of discrimination, mood symptoms, substance use, ethnic-racial identity affirmation, and collective ethnic-racial identity (assessed using the Collective Self-Esteem Scale). Controlling for demographic variables and affirmation, a significant main effect was found for collective ethnic-racial identity, such that believing that others viewed your group positively was associated with better health outcomes among African American youth. However, collective ethnic-racial identity was not found to buffer the effects of discrimination on health outcomes. These findings highlight the importance of examining collective ethnic-racial identity and the promotive effect it can have on health outcomes for African Americans. More research is needed to better understand if there are health outcomes in which collective ethnic-racial identity may also mitigate risk as a consequence of racial discrimination. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2018 APA, all rights reserved).