Journal of Youth and Adolescence

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

Perceived Ethnic Stigma Across the Transition to College

Empirical Research


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.


Perceived discrimination Public regard Ethnic stigma Adjustment Latino Asian 


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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

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