Racial (vs. self) affirmation as a protective mechanism against the effects of racial exclusion on negative affect and substance use vulnerability among black young adults

  • Michelle L. Stock
  • Frederick X. Gibbons
  • Janine B. Beekman
  • Kipling D. Williams
  • Laura S. Richman
  • Meg Gerrard
Article
  • 132 Downloads

Abstract

Affirming one’s racial identity may help protect against the harmful effects of racial exclusion on substance use cognitions. This study examined whether racial versus self-affirmation (vs. no affirmation) buffers against the effects of racial exclusion on substance use willingness and substance use word associations in Black young adults. It also examined anger as a potential mediator of these effects. After being included, or racially excluded by White peers, participants were assigned to a writing task: self-affirmation, racial-affirmation, or describing their sleep routine (neutral). Racial exclusion predicted greater perceived discrimination and anger. Excluded participants who engaged in racial-affirmation reported reduced perceived discrimination, anger, and fewer substance use cognitions compared to the neutral writing group. This relation between racial-affirmation and lower substance use willingness was mediated by reduced perceived discrimination and anger. Findings suggest racial-affirmation is protective against racial exclusion and, more generally, that ethnic based approaches to minority substance use prevention may have particular potential.

Keywords

Self-affirmation Racial discrimination Racial-affirmation Substance use Exclusion 

Notes

Acknowledgements

This research was supported by NIDA/NIH (R21DA034290-02).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

Michelle L. Stock, Frederick X. Gibbons, Janine B. Beekman, Kipling D. Williams, Laura S. Richman, and Meg Gerrard declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

Human and animal rights and Informed consent

All procedures followed were in accordance with ethical standards of the responsible committee on human experimentation (institutional and national) and with the Helsinki Declaration of 1975, as revised in 2000. Informed consent was obtained from all patients for being included in the study.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyThe George Washington UniversityWashingtonUSA
  2. 2.University of ConnecticutStorrsUSA
  3. 3.Purdue UniversityWest LafayetteUSA
  4. 4.Duke UniversityDurhamUSA

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