The perceived racism scale: a multidimensional assessment of the experience of white racism among African Americans

Ethn Dis. 1996 Winter-Spring;6(1-2):154-66.


The experience of racism is a complex, multidimensional phenomenon. At present, there are few instruments that attempt to capture the experience of racism in all of its complexity. For this study, a new instrument, the Perceived Racism Scale, has been constructed to assess the experience of racism in African Americans in a multidimensional manner. The scale not only provides a measure of the frequency of exposure to many manifestations of racism (including individual and institutional, overt and covert, attitudinal, behavioral, and cultural), but takes a step forward in more comprehensively measuring the experience of racism by assessing emotional and behavioral coping responses to racism. These responses are measured with respect to exposure to racism in three situational domains: on the job, in academic settings, and in the public realm. Measurement of responses to a fourth domain, that of exposure to racist statements, is also included. It is hoped that the Perceived Racism Scale will facilitate a more comprehensive understanding of the experience of racism among African Americans and, through its use in research and clinical settings, will ultimately move us closer to reducing the prevalence and potentially untoward effects of racism.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Black or African American / psychology*
  • Education
  • Emotions
  • Employment
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • North Carolina
  • Pilot Projects
  • Prejudice*
  • Psychometrics*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Social Perception*