Williams MT, Chapman LK, Wong J, Turkheimer E
Psychiatry Res 2012 Aug;199(1):31-6
Ethnic identity has been identified as a factor contributing to resilience and coping in African Americans. Ethnic identity includes positive feelings of ethnic affirmation and belonging, appreciation for one's ethnic identity, and increased ethnic behaviors. This study examines the role of ethnic identity in symptoms of anxiety and depression. Participants were an adult student and community sample (N=572), administered the Beck Anxiety Inventory (BAI), Center for Epidemiologic Studies of Depression Scale (CES-D), State Trait Anxiety Inventory-state portion (STAI-S), and Multigroup Ethnic Identity Measure (MEIM). Compared to European Americans, African Americans reported significantly greater depression and more negative state anxiety, as well as higher levels of ethnic identity. For African Americans, higher ethnic identity was correlated to reduced anxiety and depression, whereas this was not true for European Americans. Findings support the proposition that a strong, positive ethnic identity may serve a protective role among African Americans by moderating the relationship between discriminatory experiences and psychological well-being. An Afrocentric perspective may also contribute to reduced anxiety due to a greater emphasis on a present versus future-oriented worldview. Clinical implications and directions for future research are discussed.