Journal of Youth and Adolescence

, Volume 41, Issue 7, pp 817–830 | Cite as

Perceived Ethnic Stigma Across the Transition to College

Empirical Research

Abstract

Ethnicity-based negative treatment during the transition to college may affect the long-term adjustment of ethnic-minority youth. We examined within-person changes in youths’ perceptions of overt discrimination and their sense of their ethnic group being devalued by the larger society among 563 Latino, European, Asian, and other ethnic minority emerging adults across the transition to college (Mage = 17.79, SD = .37, 54.7% female). Analyses tested for group and context differences and associations between perceived discrimination and societal devaluation of their group and adjustment. Results indicate that although perceived discrimination decreases over time, perceived devaluation by society increases. Social context did not affect changes in perceived discrimination and societal devaluation. Whereas perceived discrimination was associated with depressive and somatic symptoms for everyone, perceived societal devaluation was only consequential for ethnic minorities. Future research should identify possible moderators to help students cope with experiences of discrimination and feelings of not being valued by society.

Keywords

Perceived discrimination Public regard Ethnic stigma Adjustment Latino Asian 

References

  1. Altschul, I., Oyserman, D., & Bybee, D. (2006). Racial-ethnic identity in mid-adolescence: Content and change as predictors of academic achievement. Child Development, 77(5), 1155–1169.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Arnett, J. J. (2000). Emerging adulthood: A theory of development from the late teens through the twenties. American Psychologist, 55(5), 469–480.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Association of American Colleges and Universities. (2011) Retrieved August 28, 2011, from http://www.aacu.org/about/index.cfm.
  4. Biasco, F., Goodwin, E., & Vitale, K. (2001). College students’ attitudes toward racial discrimination. College Student Journal, 35(4), 523–528.Google Scholar
  5. Blank, R., Dabady, M., & Citro, C. (2004). Measuring racial discrimination. Washington, DC: The National Academic Press.Google Scholar
  6. Borrell, L. N., Kiefe, C. I., Williams, D. R., Diez-Roux, A. V., & Gordon-Larsen, P. (2006). Self-reported health, perceived racial discrimination, and skin color in African Americans in the CARDIA study. Social Science Medicine, 63(6), 1415–1427.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Brown, C. S., Alabi, B. O., Huynh, V. W., & Masten, C. L. (2011). Ethnicity and gender in late childhood and early adolescence: Group identity and awareness of bias. Developmental Psychology, 47(2), 463–471.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Bryk, A. S., & Raudenbusch, S. W. (1992). Hierarchical linear models: Applications and data analysis methods. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  9. California Department of Education. (2006). School summary data. Retrieved January 27, 2006, from http://dq.cde.ca.gov/dataquest/.
  10. Cantwell, L., Anderson, E., Schreiner, L. A., & Noel, P. (2011). The impact of faculty and staff on high-risk college student persistence. Journal of College Student Development, 52(3), 321–338.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Chavous, T. M., Bernat, D. H., Schmeelk Cone, K., Caldwell, C. H., Kohn Wood, L., & Zimmerman, M. A. (2003). Racial identity and academic attainment among African American adolescents. Child Development, 74(4), 1076–1090.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Feagin, J. R. (1991). The continuing significance of race: Antiblack discrimination in public places. American Sociological Review, 101–116.Google Scholar
  13. Fisher, C. B., Wallace, S. A., & Fenton, R. E. (2000). Discrimination distress during adolescence. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 29(6), 679–695.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Fuligni, A. J., & Hardway, C. (2004). Preparing diverse adolescents for the transition to adulthood. The Future of Children, 14(2), 99–119.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Garcia Coll, C., Crnic, K., Lamberty, G., & Wasik, B. H. (1996). An integrative model for the study of developmental competencies in minority children. Child Development, 67(5), 1891–1914.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Gee, G., & Walsemann, K. (2009). Does health predict the reporting of racial discrimination or do reports of discrimination predict health? Findings from the national longitudinal study of youth. Social Science and Medicine, 68(9), 1676–1684.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Gibbons, F. X., Yeh, H.-C., Gerrard, M., Cleveland, M. J., Cutrona, C., Simons, R. L., et al. (2007). Early experience with racial discrimination and conduct disorder as predictors of subsequent drug use: A critical period hypothesis. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 88, S27–S37.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Gillen-O’Neel, C., Ruble, D. N., & Fuligni, A. J. (2011). Ethnic stigma, academic anxiety, and intrinsic motivation in middle childhood. Child Development, 82(5), 1470–1485.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Greene, M. L., Way, N., & Pahl, K. (2006). Trajectories of perceived adult and peer discrimination among Black, Latino, and Asian American adolescents: Patterns and psychological correlates. Developmental Psychology, 42(2), 218–238.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Hardaway, C. R., & McLoyd, V. C. (2009). Escaping poverty and securing middle class status: How race and socioeconomic status shape mobility prospects for African Americans during the transition to adulthood. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 38(2), 242–256.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Harrell, S. P. (2000). A multidimensional conceptualization of racism-related stress: Implications for the well-being of people of color. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 70(1), 42–57.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Hurtado, S. (1994). The institutional climate for talented Latino students. Research in Higher Education, 35(1), 21–41.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Huynh, V. W., & Fuligni, A. J. (2010). Discrimination hurts: The academic, psychological, and physical well being of adolescents. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 20(4), 916–941.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Hwang, W.-C., & Goto, S. (2009). The impact of perceived racial discrimination on the mental health of Asian American and Latino college students. Asian American Journal of Psychology, S(1), 15–28. doi: 10.1037/1948-1985.s.1.15.
  25. Liang, C. T. H., Li, L. C., & Kim, B. S. K. (2004). The Asian American racism-related stress inventory: Development, factor analysis, reliability, and validity. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 51(1), 103–114.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Link, B. G., & Phelan, J. C. (2001). Conceptualizing stigma. Annual Review of Sociology, 27, 363–385.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Lund, H. G., Reider, B. D., Whiting, A. B., & Prichard, J. R. (2010). Sleep patterns and predictors of disturbed sleep in a large population of college students. Journal of Adolescent Health, 46(2), 124–132.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Major, B., & O’Brien, L. T. (2005). The social psychology of stigma. Annual Review of Psychology, 56, 393–421.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Mattanah, J. F., Hancock, G. R., & Brand, B. L. (2004). Parental attachment, separation-individuation, and college student adjustment: A structural equation analysis of mediational effects. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 51(2), 213.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Mays, V. M., Coleman, L. M., & Jackson, J. S. (1996). Perceived race-based discrimination, employment status, and job stress in a national sample of Black women: Implications for health outcomes. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 1(3), 319–329.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. McConahay, J., Hardee, B., & Batts, V. (1981). Has racism declined in America? It depends on who is asking and what is asked. Journal of Conflict Resolution, 25(4), 563–579.Google Scholar
  32. Nishina, A., Juvonen, J., & Witkow, M. R. (2005). Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will make me feel sick: The psychosocial, somatic, and scholastic consequences of peer harassment. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, 34(1), 37–48.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Pachter, L. M., & Coll, C. G. (2009). Racism and child health: A review of the literature and future directions. Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics, 30(3), 255–263. doi:10.1097/DBP.0b013e3181a7ed5a.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Pascarella, E. T. (1997). It’s time we started paying attention to community college students. About Campus, 1(6), 14–17.Google Scholar
  35. Pascarella, E. T., Pierson, C. T., Wolniak, G. C., & Terenzini, P. T. (2004). First-generation college students: Additional evidence on college experiences and outcomes. Journal of Higher Education, 249–284.Google Scholar
  36. Radloff, L. S. (1977). The CES-D scale: A self-report depression scale for research in the general population. Applied Psychological Measurement, 1, 385–401.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Resnick, M. D., Bearman, P. S., Blum, R. W., Bauman, K. E., Harris, K. M., Jones, J., et al. (1997). Protecting adolescents from harm: Findings from the national longitudinal study on adolescent health. Journal of the American Medical Association, 278(10), 823–832.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Rivas-Drake, D. (2011). Public ethnic regard and academic adjustment among Latino adolescents. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 21(3), 537–544.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Rivas-Drake, D., Hughes, D., & Way, N. (2008). A closer look at peer discrimination, ethnic identity, and psychological well-being among urban Chinese American sixth graders. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 37(1), 12–21.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Rivas-Drake, D., Hughes, D., & Way, N. (2009). Public ethnic regard and perceived socioeconomic stratification: Associations with well-being among Dominican and Black American youth. The Journal of Early Adolescence, 29(1), 122–141.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Rosenbloom, S. R., & Way, N. (2004). Experiences of discrimination among African American, Asian American, and latino adolescents in an urban high school. Youth & Society, 35(4), 420–451.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Samaniego, R. Y., & Gonzales, N. A. (1999). Multiple mediators of the effects of acculturation status on delinquency for Mexican American adolescents. American Journal of Community Psychology. Special Issue: Adolescent Risk Behavior, 27(2), 189–210.Google Scholar
  43. Seaton, E. K., & Yip, T. (2009). School and neighborhood contexts, perceptions of racial discrimination, and psychological well-being among African American adolescents. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 38(2), 153–163.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Seaton, E. K., Yip, T., & Sellers, R. M. (2009). A longitudinal examination of racial identity and racial discrimination among African American adolescents. Child Development, 80(2), 406–417.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Sellers, R. M., Rowley, S. A. J., Chavous, T. M., Shelton, J. N., & Smith, M. A. (1997). Multidimensional inventory of black identity: A preliminary investigation of reliability and constuct validity. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 73(4), 805–815.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Sellers, R. M., Smith, M. A., Shelton, J. N., Rowley, S. A. J., & Chavous, T. M. (1998). Multidimensional model of racial identity: A reconceptualization of African American racial identity. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 2(1), 18.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Simpson, E. H. (1949). Measurement of diversity. Nature, 163.Google Scholar
  48. Smedley, B. D., Myers, H. F., & Harrell, S. P. (1993). Minority-status stresses and the college adjustment of ethnic minority freshmen. Journal of Higher Education, 64, 434–452.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Stearns, E., Buchmann, C., & Bonneau, K. (2009). Interracial friendships in the transition to college: Do birds of a feather flock together once they leave the nest? Sociology of Education, 82(2), 173–195. doi:10.1177/003804070908200204.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Sue, D. W. (1994). Asian-American mental health and help-seeking behavior: Comment on Solberg et al. (1994), Tata and Leong (1994), and Lin (1994). Journal of Counseling Psychology, 41(3), 292–295.Google Scholar
  51. Udry, J. R., & Bearman, P. S. (1998). New methods for research on adolescent sexual behavior. In R. Jessor (Ed.), New perspectives on adolescent risk behavior (pp. 241–269). New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  52. US Census Bureau. (2011). 2010 Census shows America’s diversity. Retrieved from http://www.census.gov/newsroom/releases/archives/2010_census/cb11-cn125.html.
  53. US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. (2011) Retrieved August 28, 2011, from http://www.eeoc.gov/laws/index.cfm.
  54. Williams, D. R., Yu, Y., Jackson, J. S., & Anderson, N. B. (1997). Racial differences in physical and mental health: Socio-economic status, stress and discrimination. Journal of Health Psychology. Special Issue: Health and Socio-Economic Position, 2(3), 335–351.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Child and Adolescent DevelopmentCalifornia State UniversityNorthridgeUSA
  2. 2.Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences and Department of PsychologyUniversity of CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA

Personalised recommendations