The effects of changes in racial identity and self-esteem on changes in African American adolescents' mental health

Jelani Mandara*, Noni K. Gaylord-Harden, Maryse H. Richards, Brian L. Ragsdale

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

67 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study assessed the unique effects of racial identity and self-esteem on 259 African American adolescents' depressive and anxiety symptoms as they transitioned from the 7th to 8th grades (ages 12-14). Racial identity and self-esteem were strongly correlated with each other for males but not for females. For both males and females, an increase in racial identity over the 1 year was associated with a decrease in the prevalence of depressive symptoms over the same period, even with self-esteem controlled. It was concluded that racial identity may be as important as self-esteem to the mental health of African American adolescents, and it explains variance in their mental health not associated with feelings of oneself as an individual.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1660-1675
Number of pages16
JournalChild development
Volume80
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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