An examination of race-related stress, African self-consciousness, and academic institution as predictors of depression among African American collegians
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Scholars within the field of African/Black Psychology argue that racial oppression negatively impacts African American psychological well-being. A large body of research exists supporting the claim that race-related stress is associated with poor mental health outcomes. Some Black psychologists contend that African self-consciousness is central to healthy psychological functioning suggesting that disordered Black personality results from the impact of racism on African Americans’ African self-consciousness. Lastly, when examining the psychosocial development of African American college students’ researchers often make comparisons between student experiences based on Academic Institution. The current study utilized Pearson’s correlations, hierarchical multiple regressions, and an independent samples T-test to investigate the roles that race-related stress, African self-consciousness and Academic Institution have on depression among African American collegians. The sample consisted of 167 Black college students (117 women and 50 males) recruited from a Predominately White institution (PWI) (111 participants) and a Historically Black College/Institution (HBCU) (56 participants). Results revealed total race-related stress and cultural racism significantly predicted depression. Additionally, African self-consciousness (ASCS) moderated the relationship between individual racism and depression such that, higher levels of ASCS eliminated the relationship between individual racism and depression for this sample. These findings suggest the need to further examine the unique impact of cultural, individual and institutional racism on mental health outcomes of African American collegians, along with various factors that influence these relationships. Implications of these findings for university personnel and mental health professionals are identified.