Anticipated and Experienced Ethnic/Racial Discrimination and Sleep: A Longitudinal Study

Pers Soc Psychol Bull. 2020 Dec;46(12):1724-1735. doi: 10.1177/0146167220928859. Epub 2020 Jun 22.


The transition to college is a stressful experience. For members of underrepresented minority groups, the usual stresses are frequently accompanied by ethnicity-based stressors, including discrimination. This longitudinal study extends prior work on discrimination by examining the prospective associations between anticipated and experienced ethnic/racial discrimination and sleep, a ubiquitous and basic biological need critical for optimal functioning. In a sample of 274 low-income/first-generation Latinx students, results from a cross-lagged panel model revealed that both the anticipation and experience of discrimination at the beginning of college uniquely predicted worsening sleep quality over the second half of freshmen year, controlling for relevant covariates. There was also some evidence for bidirectionality, with poor sleepers experiencing more discrimination. These findings add to the literature linking discrimination and sleep, both of which play large roles in mental, physical, social, and academic outcomes.

Keywords: SEM; discrimination; longitudinal design; sleep; transition to college.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Academic Success
  • Adolescent
  • Anticipation, Psychological*
  • Female
  • Hispanic or Latino / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Prospective Studies
  • Racial Groups / psychology
  • Racism / psychology*
  • Sleep*
  • Students / psychology
  • Universities
  • Young Adult