Race-Related Stressors and Resources for Resilience: Associations With Emotional Health, Conduct Problems, and Academic Investment Among African American Early Adolescents

Jessie L. Austin, Elijah F. Jeffries, Willie Winston, Sonya S. Brady

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objective: African American youths in the United States grow up in a society with a long, pervasive, and living history of interpersonal and institutional racism. This study examined whether race-related stressors (awareness and experiences of racism) and resources for resilience (racial–ethnic connectedness and perceptions of embedded achievement) were associated with emotional health, conduct problems, and academic investment among African American early adolescents. Embedded achievement is the belief that achievement is a part of one's racial or ethnic group identity. Method: Participants were recruited from an urban school and youth club (N = 75, mean age = 11.6 years, 71% male participants). Structured interviews were administered to youths. Results: Adjusting for age and sex, racial–ethnic connectedness and embedded achievement were associated with fewer emotional problems and conduct problems. In addition, embedded achievement was associated with greater academic investment. Racial–ethnic connectedness modified associations between awareness and experiences of racism and emotional problems; racism was associated with more emotional problems, but only among youths with lower levels of racial–ethnic connectedness. Youths’ perceptions of embedded achievement modified an association between experiences of racism and conduct problems; experiences of racism were associated with more conduct problems, but only among youths with lower perceptions of embedded achievement. Conclusion: Race-related resources for resilience appear to promote emotional, behavioral, and academic well-being among African American youths and to confer protection when youths are confronted with the stress and adversity of racism. Health professionals can advocate for policies and practices to combat racism and to foster racial pride and connectedness among youths of color.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Early online dateJun 13 2021
DOIs
StateE-pub ahead of print - Jun 13 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by the Center for Healthy African American Men through Partnerships (CHAAMPS), funded by the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities through a grant from the National Institutes of Health ( U54MD008620 ), as well as the Annie E. Casey Foundation. Content is the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health or the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

Keywords

  • African American
  • adolescenc
  • racial–ethnic identity
  • racism
  • resilience

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article

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