The impact of perceived racism: psychological symptoms among African American boys

J Clin Child Adolesc Psychol. 2003 Jun;32(2):258-66. doi: 10.1207/S15374424JCCP3202_11.


Examined the relations among perceived racism and externalizing symptoms, internalizing symptoms, hopelessness, and self-concept in African American boys (N = 84). The experience of racism is a complex phenomenon that has been found to have negative psychological outcomes in adult studies of African Americans. There has been a gap in the empirical literature regarding the possible associations between perceived racism and children's psychological well-being. This study is an attempt to address that gap. Results demonstrated that experiences of racism were related to self- and parent-reported externalizing symptoms. Personal experiences of racism were related to self-reported internalizing symptoms, lower self-concept, and higher levels of hopelessness. Potential mediators (e.g., trait anger, hostile attribution bias) were analyzed. Additional analyses indicated that trait anger mediated a number of the observed relations between perceived racism and behavioral symptoms. The results of the study suggest that perceived racism is associated with multiple negative correlates for African American boys.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • African Americans / psychology*
  • Anger
  • Child
  • Child Behavior Disorders / ethnology*
  • Child Behavior Disorders / psychology
  • Hostility
  • Humans
  • Internal-External Control*
  • Male
  • Motivation
  • Personality Assessment
  • Prejudice*
  • Risk Factors
  • Social Perception*