Master's Project Title:

Abstract: Race-Related Stressors and Resources for Resilience: Associations with Emotional Health, Behavioral Health, and Academic Investment among African American Adolescents

MCH Student:

Jessie L. Austin

Date of Defense:

May 8, 2019


African American youth in the United States grow up in a society with a long, pervasive and living history of interpersonal and institutional racism. This study examined whether race-related stressors (awareness and experiences of racism) and race-related resources for resilience (racial-ethnic connectedness and embedded achievement) were associated with emotional health, behavioral health and academic investment among African American adolescents. Additionally, it examined whether racial-ethnic connectedness and embedded achievement weaken potential associations between racism and outcomes. Embedded achievement is the belief that achievement is a part of one’s racial-ethnic group, and that one’s achievement will help other group members to succeed. Participants were 76 African American adolescents (Mean age= 11.6, 71% male). Adjusting for age and gender, racial-ethnic connectedness and embedded achievement were associated with less emotional problems and conduct problems. In addition, embedded achievement was associated with greater academic investment. Racial ethnic connectedness modified the associations between youths’ awareness and experiences of racism and emotional problems; racism was associated with more emotional problems, but only among youth with lower levels of racial-ethnic connectedness. Youths’ perceptions of embedded achievement modified the association between youths’ experiences of racism and conduct problems; experiences of racism were associated with more conduct problems, but only among youth with lower perceptions of embedded achievement. African American youth who possess race-related resources for resilience exhibit less emotional and conduct problems and greater academic investment. Race-related resources for resilience also appear to confer protection when African American youth are confronted with the significant stress and adversity of racism.