The Role of Age in Understanding the Psychological Effects of Racism for African Americans

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Abstract

Objectives: The purpose of the current study was to test age as a moderator of the effects of types of racism on psychological symptoms for a sample of 184 African American women. Method: We hypothesized that increased age would be associated with greater severity in psychological symptoms in relation to exposure to types of racism. Moderated hierarchical regression analyses were performed to test our hypothesis. Results: Findings revealed significant interactions between institutional racism and age in predicting anxiety. Younger women experienced more severe anxiety in relation to greater exposure to institutional racism compared to older African American women. Conclusions: Findings suggest that older age may function as a buffer to psychological outcomes related to racism exposure. Additional studies are needed to understand the ways in which older African American adults cope with racism-related experiences.

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