Category: Cultural Diversity / Vulnerable Populations
Research over the last twenty years has documented a strong link between experiences of discrimination and psychopathology, however there are few measures specifically designed to capture symptoms that may emerge as a result of perceived discrimination. The Anxiety Symptoms of Discrimination Scale (ASDS) is a 21-item self-report measure that asks respondents about trauma, socially avoidant, and anxiety symptoms based on “past experiences of discrimination.” Respondents can be of any race or ethnicity and describe any form of discrimination. Each item is rated on a scale of 1-4 (“Never,” “Rarely,” “Sometimes,” and “Often”), and summed for a total score. We gave the ASDS to a racially diverse group of students (N=212) that was 53.1% White, 34.6% Black, 5.2% Asian, and 7.1% Biracial/Other. Of these, 2.4% identified as Hispanic and 75% were female, with a mean age of 21.5 (SD 4.04). Reliability of the ASDS was excellent (alpha=.97). We conducted a principal components analysis on the ASDS with a Varimax rotation, and two components emerged that explained 71.4% of the variance. One component focused on worry and avoidance (12 items), and the other focused on loss of emotional control (9 items). We then compared Black and White participants on the ASDS and found significant differences in total scores (t=5.0, p < .001), with Blacks scoring higher (mean 41.7, SD=15.4) than Whites (mean 30.7, SD=13.0). Total ASDS scores were also significantly correlated to existing measures of racial microaggressions (RMAS), general ethnic discrimination frequency and stress (GEDS), anxiety (BAI), and negative affectivity (PANAS) in both Black and White students, although these correlations were stronger in Black students. When allocating percentages to the various types of discrimination experienced, Black participants attributed 51.1% to racism, whereas White participants attributed 6.9% to racism. Implications of findings and future directions will be discussed.