The role of racial identity in perceived racial discrimination

J Pers Soc Psychol. 2003 May;84(5):1079-92. doi: 10.1037/0022-3514.84.5.1079.


This study examined the role that dimensions of racial identity play regarding the antecedents and consequences of perceived racial discrimination among African Americans. A total of 267 African American college students completed measures of racial identity, perceived racial discrimination, and psychological distress at 2 time points. After controlling for previous perceptions of discrimination, racial centrality was positively associated with subsequent perceived racial discrimination. Additionally, perceived discrimination was positively associated with subsequent event-specific and global psychological distress after accounting for previous perceptions of discrimination and distress. Finally, racial ideology and public regard beliefs moderated the positive relationship between perceived discrimination and subsequent distress. The results illustrate the complex role racial identity plays in the lives of African Americans.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Black or African American / psychology
  • Black or African American / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Prejudice*
  • Racial Groups*
  • Regression Analysis
  • Social Identification*
  • Social Perception*
  • Stress, Psychological / etiology
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology
  • Students / psychology