Project Title: Conversations About Race: Links Between Racial Socialization, Coping, and Racial Beliefs
Student: Morgan Christie ’16
Mentor: Dr. Sarah Bunnell
This study examined the types of messages transmitted by ethnic minority and majority parents to their adolescents regarding race and its intersection with society, as well as how these messages about race prepare minority and majority adolescents to cope with discriminatory experiences. Participants included 119 adolescents (Mage = 18.96 years, SD = 1.06); 80 self-identified as Caucasian and 39 self-identified as minority race adolescents (8.4% African-American, 7.56% Hispanic, 7.56% Asian American or Pacific Islander, 2.52% Biracial, and 6.72% “Other”). Individuals wrote two narratives; the first narrative asked them to describe a conversation with a parental figure regarding race, and the second narrative asked them to describe a time they experienced discrimination. Participants also completed the Responses to Stress Questionnaire (tailored to discriminatory racial experiences), the Color-Blind Racial Attitudes Scale, and a demographics questionnaire. Preliminary results indicate that 75% of the sample experienced a conversation about race. Minority parents were no more likely to engage in this conversation than their majority counterparts, but when they did have conversations about race with their adolescents, these conversations were more likely to focus on preparing their adolescents for future racial conflicts and transitions, providing emotional support and conflict resolution, and sharing their own race-based experiences with their children than were conversations between majority dyads. In terms of discriminatory experiences, 55% of the sample reported experiencing some form of racial discrimination, and minority adolescents were significantly more likely to report racial discrimination that were majority adolescents. When racial discrimination did occur, both minority and majority adolescents were more likely to experience harassment relative to other forms of discrimination. Additional analyses will examine the relationship between coping responses and racial ideologies and the racial socialization experiences of minority and majority adolescents.