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Racial Centrality and Coping with Racism

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posted on 26.08.2022, 18:42 authored by Sydney Barlow

The present study examined the effects of racism on a wide array of health outcomes and explored the role of communal coping and racial centrality on the downstream effects of racism in a sample of college students. We conducted a 7-day daily diary study with 41 non-White college students at Carnegie Mellon University that 1) examined the effect of racism on health, 2)investigated racial centrality as a moderator variable, and 3) examined how communal copingwith racism affects health. It was hypothesized that daily racism and vicarious discrimination would be associated with poorer health outcomes. It was also hypothesized that racial centrality would moderate the relation between racial daily racism and health. Lastly, it was hypothesized that communal coping with a partner in the context of daily racism would be related to better health. Results showed that daily racism was not related to any health outcomes, but that vicarious discrimination was associated with poorer mental and physical health. There was some evidence for racial centrality as a moderator variable. Findings at the day level showed that high racial centrality buffers individuals from the negative effect of daily racism on health. Findings at the person level showed that those who experience more discriminatory events fare better in terms of daily health—especially if they are low in racial centrality. In regard to communal coping, appraising racism as a shared stressor was related to better health and high collaboration buffered individuals from the negative effects of daily racism on mental and physical health. Together these findings suggest that a communal coping framework may be advantageous for minorities when dealing with a stressor such as racism. Thus, future research should continue to investigate the circumstances in which communal coping with daily racism could be helpful.





Vicki Helgeson



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