Online racial discrimination and the protective function of ethnic identity and self-esteem for African American adolescents

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By bhadmin February 2, 2021

A growing body of literature has shown that being victimized online is associated with poor mental health. Little is known about the factors that protect youth from the negative outcomes that may result from these victimization experiences, particularly those related to race. Using a risk and resilience framework, this study examined the protective function of ethnic identity and self-esteem among African Americans who experience online racial discrimination. For the sample of 125 adolescents, hierarchical regression results revealed that higher levels of ethnic identity and self-esteem significantly moderated the negative impact of online racial discrimination on anxiety levels. These findings show that ethnic identity and self-esteem can buffer the negative mental health outcomes associated with online racial discrimination, at least with respect to adolescents’ anxiety. Findings from the current study have significant implications for adolescent adjustment given the increased time youth spend doing online activities.

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