Perceptions of racism and depressive symptoms in African American adolescents: The role of perceived academic and social control

Sharon F. Lambert, Keith C. Herman, Mia Smith Bynum, Nicholas S. Ialongo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Experiences with racism are a common occurrence for African American youth and may result in negative self perceptions relevant for the experience of depressive symptoms. This study examined the longitudinal association between perceptions of racism and depressive symptoms, and whether perceived academic or social control mediated this association, in a community epidemiologically- defined sample of urban African American adolescents (N = 500; 46.4% female). Structural equation modeling revealed that experiences with racism were associated with low perceived academic control, which in turn was associated with increased depressive symptoms. Findings suggest that experiences with racism can have long lasting effects for African American youth's depressive symptoms, and highlight the detrimental effects of experiences with racism for perceptions of control in the academic domain. Implications for intervention are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)519-531
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Youth and Adolescence
Volume38
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 2009

Keywords

  • Adolescent depression
  • African American
  • Perceived control
  • Racism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)

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