Category: Obsessive Compulsive and Related Disorders

Symposium

The Associations Between Racial Discrimination, Racial Identity, and Obsessive-Compulsive Symptoms

Friday, November 17
1:45 PM - 3:15 PM
Location: Sapphire Ballroom I & J, Level 4, Sapphire Level

Keywords: OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) | Race / Ethnicity | Cross Cultural / Cultural Differences
Presentation Type: Symposium

Although several studies suggest racial discrimination (RD) is a risk factor for increased psychiatric symptoms for African American young adults (e.g., Neblett et al., 2016; Priest et. al., 2013), no study to date has explored the link between RD and obsessive-compulsive (OC) symptoms within this population. In addition, racial identity (RI) has been shown to moderate the association between RD and psychiatric symptoms (i.e. Banks & Kohn-Wood, 2007), yet no studies have investigated the role of RI in protecting young adults against the effects of RD on the development and maintenance of OC symptoms. Using the sociocultural model of OCD (Williams & Jahn, 2016), the current study examined the longitudinal association between racial discrimination frequency (T1) and subsequent OC symptoms 16 months later (T3), as well as how T1 patterns of RI moderate this relationship. Participants were 171 African American college students attending a predominantly White institution who completed measures of RD, RI, and OC symptoms. Latent profile analysis revealed three patterns of RI: Black Assimilationist, Race-Focused, and Humanist. RI patterns moderated the relationship between initial RD frequency (T1) and T3 OC symptoms, F (2,116) = 3.09, p = 0.049). RD frequency was positively associated with T3 OC symptoms for the Race-Focused racial identity group, which was characterized by relatively stronger feelings regarding the importance of being Black and the uniqueness of the Black experience (b = 0.33, p = 0.001), but unrelated to OC symptoms for the Black Assimilationist (i.e., positive feelings about being Black and American) and Humanist (i.e., endorsement of views emphasizing similarities he commonalities between Blacks and all humans) groups. Results support the notion that racial discrimination and specific patterns of racial identity (i.e., Black Assimilationist, Humanist) are sociocultural risk and protective factors, respectively, in the development and maintenance of OC symptoms for African American young adults. As a result, these findings have the potential to transform our approaches to the assessment and treatment of OC symptoms within African American samples. 

Enrique Neblett

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

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