Extant literature has identified ethnic and racial minorities as highly susceptible to experiences of discrimination, and evidence has undoubtedly demonstrated that such experiences can be psychologically harmful. Despite highlighting its deleterious effects, further research is needed to generate a more detailed understanding of how perceived discrimination impacts psychological symptoms in ethnic minorities. Inasmuch, this study seeks to identify cognitive factors that influence the psychological consequences of perceived discrimination in African American college students. Specifically, researchers will examine attributional processes associated with discrimination, such as the initiation of the discriminatory attribution process following a stressful event and the tendency to develop future expectations that discrimination will continue to cause stressful life experiences. In order to determine the psychological outcomes associated with the discriminatory attribution process, the current study includes the administration of gold-standard assessments of depression, social anxiety, chronic worry, and traumatic stress.
Uniquely, this study will also include the measurement validation of the Anxiety Symptoms of Discrimination Scale, which is a time efficient self-report questionnaire measuring the direct impact of discrimination on the expression of various anxiety symptoms. The current study will focus on African American college students ranging from ages 18-25. Participants will be randomly assigned between four experimental conditions and then asked to complete an online survey consisting of self-report questionnaires.
Project Team: Ryan DeLapp and Broderick Sawyer.
The CMHD is working on a project with collaborators at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor on quality of life issues in African Americans with anxiety disorders. We are examining the impact of anxiety disorders in African Americans with regards to relationships and help-seeking behaviors, as well as other areas such as educational attainment and incarceration. Participants in this study included 3,570 African Americans and 891 Non-Hispanic whites from the National Survey of American Life (NSAL) epidemiological study. Measures used included a structured psychiatric interview to assess both 12-month and lifetime DSM-IV disorders and various quality of life variables. Results indicate that different anxiety disorders in African Americans are uniquely associated with different amounts of perceived family closeness, reduced educational attainment, and decreased treatment-seeking when compared with African Americans and European Americans with no disorders.