Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health

, Volume 21, Issue 2, pp 393–400 | Cite as

Intergenerational Mobility and Goal-Striving Stress Among Black Americans: The Roles of Ethnicity and Nativity Status

  • Dawne M. MouzonEmail author
  • Daphne C. Watkins
  • Ramona Perry
  • Theresa M. Simpson
  • Jamie A. Mitchell
Original Paper


Goal-striving stress refers to the psychological consequences of seeking but failing to reach upward mobility and is more common among low-income and people of color. Intergenerational mobility—or improved socioeconomic standing relative to one’s parents—may be an important predictor of goal-striving stress for Blacks. We used the National Survey of American Life to investigate the association between intergenerational mobility and goal-striving stress among U.S.-born African Americans, U.S.-born Caribbean Blacks, and foreign-born Caribbean Blacks. Intergenerational mobility was associated with lower goal-striving stress and U.S.-born African Americans and Caribbean Blacks reported lower goal-striving stress than foreign-born Caribbean Blacks. Goal-striving stress was relatively high among foreign-born Blacks, regardless of level of intergenerational mobility attained. Goal-striving is an important stressor for foreign-born Caribbean Blacks, regardless of their level of educational success. Given increasing Black migration, future studies should disaggregate the Black racial category based on ethnicity and nativity.


Goal-striving stress Blacks African Americans Caribbean Blacks Immigration Mental health 



This study was supported by the National Institute on Aging (P30AG1528) and the Michael J. and Susan Angelides Public Policy Research Fund.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

Mouzon, Watkins, Perry, Simpson, Mitchell declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Research Involving with Human and Animal Standards

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public PolicyRutgers, The State University of New JerseyNew BrunswickUSA
  2. 2.Institute for Health, Health Care Policy, and Aging ResearchRutgers, The State University of New JerseyNew BrunswickUSA
  3. 3.School of Social WorkUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA

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