Perceived Racism: A Comprehensive Model of Identity-Related Antecedences, Moderators, and Consequences
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The phenomenon of racism has been a growing social-issue and continues today. This study examines the antecedences, moderators, and consequences of perceived racism to better understand this phenomenon and help reduce its negative consequences. Specifically, we investigated how perceived racism including discrimination and microaggressions influence students’ academic achievement, stress and somatic symptoms. We also examined the effect the participant’s personal racial identity as a possible antecedence for perceived racism, and self-esteem as a mediator and moderator. A self-reported survey study (n=329) was conducted using undergraduates including Latino American, African American, and Caucasian American students. Correlation analysis, mediation test, moderation test and path analysis were conducted to examine the proposed model. Results found that more perceived racism was associated with higher stress levels, more somatic symptoms, and less academic achievement. Specifically, microaggressions had a direct effect on all outcome measures, whereas discrimination’s effect is indirect via reducing self-esteem. It is worth mentioning that racial identity was found to have two opposite impacts—a dominant positive effect by promoting self-esteem and a minor negative effect by perceiving more microaggression. Self-esteem was also found to have both positive impact and negative impact—a major direct positive effect on all outcome measures and a minor negative effect by aggravating the negative impact of microaggression on academic achievement. In sum, this study implies that racism especially microaggression harms individuals in many aspects; racial identity and self-esteem are protective factors to counteract its negative impact. These findings help reveal the mechanism of how racism is perceived and evolves, and provide suggestions to reduce its negative consequences in the future.