The Relationship Between Racial Identity and Self-Esteem in African American College and High School Students

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Abstract

The Multidimensional Model of Racial Identity was used to examine the relationship between racial identity and personal self-esteem (PSE) in a sample of African American college students (n = 173) and a sample of African American high school students (n = 72). Racial identity was assessed using the Centrality and Regard scales of the Multidimensional Inventory of Black Identity, whereas the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale was used to assess PSE. Four predictions were tested: (a) racial centrality is weakly but positively related to PSE; (b) private regard is moderately related to PSE; (c) public regard is unrelated to PSE; and (d) racial centrality moderates the relationship between private regard and PSE. Multiple regression analysis found that racial centrality and public racial regard were unrelated to PSE in both samples. Private regard was positively related to PSE in the college sample. Racial centrality moderated the relationship between private regard and PSE in both samples, such that the relationship was significant for those with high levels of centrality but nonsignificant for those with low levels.

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