CDIS scholars, in partnership with Aerika Brittian Loyd and colleagues from University of California, Riverside, published a new investigation into the associations between racial microaggressions, coping, racial/ethnic identity, and mental health in Black girls and women in the Journal of Research on Adolescence.

Racial microaggressions pose significant risk to health and well-being among Black adolescents and adults. Yet, protective factors (i.e., coping, racial/ethnic identity) can moderate the impact of racial microaggressions over time. Unfortunately, few studies have evaluated the role of these protective factors longitudinally or specifically among Black girls and women. In the current study, we focused on the experiences of Black girls and women and investigated the longitudinal links between racial microaggressions and mental health symptoms over 1 year. We then explored the role of two key protective factors as moderators—coping with racial discrimination and racial/ethnic identity—for mental health. Participants included 199 Black adolescent girls (Mage = 16.02) and 199 Black women (Mage = 42.82) who completed measures on two types of racial microaggressions, three types of coping strategies, racial/ethnic identity, and mental health symptomology. Girls and women completed measures at three time points over 1 year. Results indicated both types of microaggressions predicted increased mental health symptoms in Black women. Among Black girls, assumptions of criminality predicted increased externalizing symptoms only when protective factors were included in the model. Analysis of the protective factors indicated a potential direct benefit rather than a moderating role of coping with racial discrimination through positive thinking for mental health in both Black girls and women. Evidence suggests that coping may have had a direct rather than an indirect effect on Black girls’ mental health over time. We conclude with future directions for research and considerations for practice.

Loyd AB, Kürüm E, Crooks N, Maya A, Emerson E, Donenberg GR. Investigating Longitudinal Associations Between Racial Microaggressions, Coping, Racial/Ethnic Identity, and Mental Health in Black Girls and Women. Journal of research on adolescence. Published online 2021. doi:10.1111/jora.12710