Dimensions of Racial Identity as Moderators of the Depression-Discrimination Relationship in Blacks

Doctoral Dissertation


The purpose of this study was to better understand the relationship between mental health functioning and the perception of discrimination in Blacks. Merging the theoretical tenets of the transactional theory of stress and coping with social identity theory, it was proposed that higher levels of depression would predict greater perceptions of discrimination and that particular social factors would moderate this relation. In particular, the Multidimensional Model of Racial Identity ([MMRI] Sellers, Shelton, Rowley, & Chavous, 1998) was incorporated into the study design to test potential racial identity moderators of the relationship between mental health functioning (i.e., depressive symptoms) and perceived discrimination. Theoretically informed demographic variables, sex and socioeconomic status (SES), also were tested for their moderating potential. Results indicated that depression indeed is positively correlated with perceiving discrimination, and that having higher levels of racial centrality exacerbated this relationship. However, a three-way interaction revealed that having stronger private regard for one’s racial group buffered the relationship between racial centrality and depression to predict lower levels of perceived discrimination. Additionally, at low levels of depression, men were less likely to perceive discrimination than women in the relationship between mental health functioning and perceived discrimination. Contrary to prediction, SES did not moderate the relation between depression and the perception of discrimination. Theoretical and clinical implications of these results are discussed.


Attribute NameValues
  • etd-04202012-164921

Author Raé Nicole Lundy
Advisor Alexandra F. Corning
Contributor Anita E. Kelly, Committee Member
Contributor Alexandra F. Corning, Committee Chair
Contributor George S. Howard, Committee Member
Contributor David G. Moss, Committee Member
Contributor Darren Davis, Committee Member
Degree Level Doctoral Dissertation
Degree Discipline Psychology
Degree Name PhD
Defense Date
  • 2012-03-27

Submission Date 2012-04-20
  • United States of America

  • racial identity

  • social identity theory

  • Blacks

  • private regard

  • transactional theory of stress and coping

  • depression

  • University of Notre Dame

  • English

Record Visibility Public
Content License
  • All rights reserved

Departments and Units


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