Linked fate among underrepresented groups: Investigating the relationships between Black college students' perceptions of institutional diversity climate and mental health

J Am Coll Health. 2021 Aug 11;1-9. doi: 10.1080/07448481.2021.1924724. Online ahead of print.

Abstract

Objective: Negative perceptions of institutional racial climate relate to worse mental health outcomes for Black college students. Yet, few scholars have considered how Black students' perceptions of the institutional climate for other underrepresented groups may impact mental health. Participants and Methods: We drew on a national sample of Black college students across 15 institutions (n = 1188) to examine the effects of institutional diversity climate on students' anxiety, depression, and positive mental health. Results: Black students who perceived the campus as more welcoming to first-generation reported higher positive mental health. Black students who perceived the campus as more welcoming to racial minorities, lesbian, gay, bisexual (LGB), and low socioeconomic status (SES) students reported lower levels of depression and anxiety. Conclusions: Black students' perceptions of the institutional diversity climate for other groups influences their mental health outcomes, and underscores the need for more research on individual-level differences in students' mental health processes.

Keywords: Black college students; diversity; inclusion; institutional climate; mental health.