Hope Springs: Moderating the Link Between Racial Discrimination and Depressive Symptoms for African American Emerging Adults


By bhadmin February 2, 2021

To better understand the moderating effect of coping mechanisms (distraction and rumination) and internal assets (hope) on the relationship between perceived discrimination and depressive symptoms, a sample of 363 African American students (65.3% female; mean age = 20.25 years; SD = 2.39) from two large Midwestern universities were surveyed using self-report measures. Hierarchical multiple regressions were used to explore the relationships among the variables and depressive symptoms. Results indicated that discrimination (B = 0.10, p < .001) and ruminative coping (B = 1.05, p < .001) were positively related to depressive symptoms, while hope was negatively related to depression (B = −0.33, p < .001). Further, the relationship between discrimination and depressive symptoms was moderated by hope (B = 0.01, p = .02). The interaction between discrimination and depressive symptoms suggested that participants who reported low levels of hope also reported more depressive symptoms regardless of level of discrimination, compared with those who reported high hope. For these African American emerging adults, the results bring to light the potential of an internal asset that aids in reduction of depressive symptoms in response to constant, potential harm such as racial discrimination.

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