Longitudinal associations between experienced racial discrimination and depressive symptoms in African American adolescents

Devin English, Sharon F. Lambert, Nicholas S. Ialongo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

While recent evidence has indicated that experienced racial discrimination is associated with increased depressive symptoms for African American adolescents, most studies rely on cross-sectional and short-term longitudinal research designs. As a result, the direction and persistence of this association across time remains unclear. This article examines longitudinal associations between experienced racial discrimination and depressive symptoms among a community sample of African American adolescents (N = 504) from Grade 7 to Grade 10, while controlling for multiple alternative causal pathways. Sex was tested as a moderator of the link between experienced racial discrimination and later depressive symptoms. Structural equation modeling revealed that experienced racial discrimination was positively associated with depressive symptoms 1 year later across all waves of measurement. The link between experienced racial discrimination at Grade 7 and depressive symptoms at Grade 8 was stronger for females than males. Findings highlight the role of experienced racial discrimination in the etiology of depressive symptoms for African Americans across early adolescence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1190-1196
Number of pages7
JournalDevelopmental psychology
Volume50
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2014

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Keywords

  • Adolescents
  • African american
  • Racial discrimination
  • Sex differences

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Demography
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies

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