"Development of Black Adolescent Racial Identity: The Interactive Roles of Racial Discrimination and Racial Socialization"
Society for Research on Adolescence (SRA) Biennial Meeting
April 12-14, 2018
Presentation Title: "Development of Black Adolescent Racial Identity: The Interactive Roles of Racial Discrimination and Racial Socialization" (poster)
Authors: Nestor Tulagan, Jacquelynne Eccles
The protective effects of a well-developed racial identity (e.g. connectedness, centrality, private regard) on the deleterious influence of racial discrimination on Black adolescents’ developmental outcomes is well-established (Wong et al., 2003; Eccles et al., 2006; Zimmerman, Stoddard, Eisman, Caldwell, Aiyer, & Miller, 2013; Sellers, Caldwell, Schmeelk-Cone, & Zimmerman, 2003). Racial identity, however, does not develop in a vacuum, and social factors play a role in shaping its development. A positive racial identity may be a function of discriminatory experiences, such that racial discrimination experienced in school can negatively influence constructs like racial private regard (Seaton et al, 2009). A strong racial identity may also originate from racial socialization strategies parents implement at home, such that high levels of cultural socialization and preparation for bias positively positively predict indicators of racial identity (Hughes et al., 2006; Peck et al., 2014; Tang, McLoyd & Hallman, 2016).
Studies have explored the ways racial socialization may protect against the negative impacts of racial discrimination on racial identity constructs. These studies found few interactions between racial discrimination and socialization; however, these processes were examined using cross-sectional data and multi-ethnic samples (Rivas-Drake et al., 2009). The present study addresses this gap by examining the extent to which racial socialization and racial discrimination interact to predict to racial identity constructs as Black youth navigate adolescence.
Using longitudinal data collected from 879 Black families, we measured 7th grade adolescents’ (12.8 years; 47% female) experiences of racial discrimination and parents’ racial socialization strategies (i.e. cultural socialization and preparation for bias) in 8th grade. We also measured adolescents’ racial connectedness, centrality, and private regard in 11th grade.
We conducted sequential regression analyses, examining the associations of the two types of racial socialization strategies on the three racial identity outcomes. First, we examined the base associations of racial socialization and discrimination on each outcome. Then, we controlled for the 8th grade measure of the outcome variable. Finally, we added the interaction term between racial discrimination and racial socialization strategy in the model.
Results revealed significant interaction between cultural socialization and racial discrimination, suggesting that the predictive association of cultural socialization on racial connectedness increases with the presence of racial discrimination. Additionally, a significant interaction was found for racial centrality, such that cultural socialization reduces the negative (but non-significant) trend between racial discrimination and centrality. Moreover, although their interaction was only marginally significant, racial private regard was associated negatively with racial discrimination and positively with cultural socialization, suggesting a compensatory relation. Finally, the significant and positive interaction between racial discrimination and parents’ preparation for bias indicated that preparation for bias protects against the significant, negative influence of racial discrimination.
Overall, the present study extends current theoretical knowledge of the interplay between racial socialization strategies, discrimination experiences, and constructs of racial identity. As these factors have implications for Black adolescents’ developmental outcomes, future studies should examine the extent to which racial identity mediates the predictive association of racial socialization and racial discrimination on adolescents’ academic and socioemotional wellbeing.