The Mediating Role of Internalized Racism in the Relationship Between Racist Experiences and Anxiety Symptoms in a Black American Sample

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Abstract

Objectives: The current study explores the potential mediating role of internalized racism in the relationship between racist experiences and anxiety symptomology in a Black American sample. Method: One hundred and 73 Black American participants, between 18 and 62 years of age, completed a questionnaire packet containing measures of anxious arousal and stress symptoms, internalized racism, and experiences of racist events. Results: Results indicated that internalized racism mediated the relationship between past-year frequency of racist events and anxious arousal as well as past-year frequency of racist events and stress symptoms. Conclusions: Internalized racism may be 1 mechanism that underlies the relationship between racism and anxious symptomology for Black Americans. These preliminary findings suggest that internalized racism may be an avenue through which clinicians can target the anxiety elicited by racist experiences. The clinical implications of these findings and future research directions are discussed.

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