Racial Discrimination and the Stress Process

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Abstract

The unique and combined effects of chronic and daily racial discrimination on psychological distress were examined in a sample of 174 African American doctoral students and graduates. Using a daily process design, 5 models of the stress process were tested. Multilevel random coefficient modeling analyses revealed that chronic exposure to racial discrimination predicted greater daily discrimination and psychological distress. Further, results show that differences in daily discrimination and negative events accounted for meaningful variation in daily distress responses. Finally, findings indicate that daily discrimination and negative events mediated the relationship between chronic discrimination and psychological distress. The study provides support for the need to measure chronic strains as distinctive from daily stressors in the lives of African Americans.

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