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Title:Racial discrimination and internalizing psychopathology in African Americans: examining cognitive and affective mechanisms
Author(s):Mekawi, Yara
Director of Research:Heller, Wendy; Hunter, Carla
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Heller, Wendy
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Harwood, Stacy; Todd, Nathan; Pratt-Clark, Menah; Neville, Helen
Department / Program:Psychology
Discipline:Psychology
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Degree:Ph.D.
Genre:Dissertation
Subject(s):racial discrimination, minority mental health, anxiety, depression, worry
Abstract:Although numerous studies have documented an association between discrimination and internalizing psychopathology, there is a lack of theoretical and empirical work that establishes cognitive and emotional mechanisms through which racial discrimination leads to these outcomes in African Americans. The goal of this study was to test a new etiological model of the role of racial discrimination in the development of anxious arousal, anxious apprehension and anhedonia. The overarching model proposed that frequent exposure to racial discrimination (i.e., blatant racism, racial microaggressions, and gendered racial microaggressions) may lead to anxious arousal, anxious apprehension and anhedonia through the development of maladaptive cognitive processes (i.e., anticipatory race-related fear, anticipatory race-related anxiety, rumination/hopelessness) the effects of which are conditional based on psychopathology-relevant cognitive vulnerabilities (i.e., attention bias to threat, inhibition difficulty). A total of 250 African American participants (73% women) completed the study. For anxious arousal, we found the indirect effect of racial discrimination (blatant racism and racial microaggressions) through anticipatory race-related fear depended on degree of attention bias, with the effect only reaching statistical significance at high levels of attention bias to threat. For anxious apprehension, we found that the small indirect effect of racial discrimination (blatant racism and gendered racial microaggressions) through anticipatory race-related anxiety did not depend on the degree of attention bias, but the effect only reached statistical significance at low levels of attention bias to threat. For anhedonia, the indirect effect of racial discrimination through rumination was significant regardless of inhibition capacity, whereas the indirect effect of racial discrimination through hopefulness was only statistically significant among people with greater inhibition ability. Implications for etiology and treatment are discussed.
Issue Date:2018-01-24
Type:Text
URI:http://hdl.handle.net/2142/105730
Rights Information:Copyright 2019 Yara Mekawi
Date Available in IDEALS:2019-11-26
Date Deposited:2019-08


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