Online Racism and Mental Health Symptomatology Among Black Adolescents: A Longitudinal Examination

PI: Stephen Gibson

Supervising PI: Fantasy Lozada, Ph.D.

Funding: NIH NIMH F31 Predoctoral Individual National Research Service Award (NRSA) 1F31MH131391-01  

Black adolescents disproportionately report severe rates of psychological distress including, depression and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms stemming from experiencing greater racial trauma in comparison to other racial peers. Therefore, identification and examination of the antecedents of psychological distress among Black adolescents is a pressing need. Online racism (e.g., racism via the media and online platforms) is increasingly becoming a public health concern, with recent studies indicating that almost 50% of Black individuals have experienced at least one online racial discriminatory act during adolescence, and the most common discriminatory act being racist images or videos. However, our understanding of the consequences of online racism on psychological distress among Black adolescents have methodological limitations in (1) longitudinal explorations, (2) person-centered approaches, and (3) modeling of attenuating cultural processes. The overarching goal of the proposed study is to address those limitations by providing a methodically rigorous examination of the longitudinal effects of online racism exposure on depression and PTSD symptoms, investigating the extent to which subgroups of Black adolescents differ in online racism exposure, and the extent to which cultural processes of racial protection and racial pride serve as protective factors in the face of online racism exposure.