Category: Cultural Diversity / Vulnerable Populations

Symposium

Symposium 8 - Race-Related Stress and Mental Health Outcomes Among Black/African Americans: Clinical Considerations

Friday, November 17
8:30 AM - 10:00 AM
Location: Sapphire Ballroom E & F, Level 4, Sapphire Level

Keywords: African Americans/Black Americans | Adult Anxiety | Trauma
Presentation Type: Symposium

In the United States, approximately up to 98% of Black Americans experience race-based discrimination annually (Klonoff & Landrine, 1999). These stressful experiences range from structural, systemic, institutional biases to subtle microaggressions, and include interpersonal assaults. Most recently, the Southern Poverty Law Center published a report indicating that there have been 221 reported anti-black incidences following the 2016 U.S. Presidential election, second to reported anti-immigrant incidences. Additionally, the most recent FBI statistics indicated that 59.2% of all reported hate crimes were motivated by race/ethnicity/ancestry bias, and 35% of the Anti-Black or African American incidences were categorized as simple or aggravated assault, rape, or murder. Unsurprisingly, research has consistently demonstrated that discrimination is significantly and positively associated with negative mental health outcomes, such as depression and anxiety (for a review, see Paradies, 2006). Further, direct acts of discrimination may also put Black Americans at risk for race-based traumatic stress (Carter, 2007), making this experience a needed, yet understudied, area for clinical research.


The following papers present empirical and clinical considerations for both the understanding and treatment of anxiety among Black Americans, with special attention to the impact of racial discrimination and race-based traumatic stress. The first presentation will qualitatively examine Black Americans’ experiences of race-based discrimination, and the perceived impact on stress, anxiety, self-esteem, interpersonal difficulties, and emotion regulation. The second presentation will quantitatively examine the impact of negative affect on the experience of discrimination and mental health outcomes (including PTSD) within a sample of African Americans. The third presentation will examine results from an online quantitative study among Black Americans evaluating the relation between racism, depression, anxiety, and PTSD symptoms. Finally, the fourth presentation will discuss strategies for addressing experiences of discrimination in clinical contexts, and possible ways to sensitively incorporate a client’s marginalized identity into the therapeutic process. Together, these studies provide a rich understanding of Black Americans’ experiences of discrimination and their impact that will help guide future research and clinical interventions to address this important clinical target.

Learning Objectives:

Jennifer H. Martinez

Doctoral Candidate
University of Massachusetts Boston

Presentation(s):

    Send Email for Jennifer Martinez

    Shelly Harrell

    Professor
    Pepperdine University Graduate School of Education and Psychology

    Presentation(s):

    Send Email for Shelly Harrell

    Jessica Graham-LoPresti

    Assistant Professor
    Salem State University

    Presentation(s):

    Send Email for Jessica Graham-LoPresti

    Send Email for Monnica Williams

    Shannon Hughley

    Doctoral Student
    University of Massachusetts Boston

    Presentation(s):

    Send Email for Shannon Hughley

    Broderick Sawyer

    Doctoral Candidate
    University of Louisville

    Presentation(s):

    Send Email for Broderick Sawyer


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