The Effects of General Social Support and Social Support for Racial Discrimination on African American Women’s Well-Being

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2014-02-01
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Russell, Daniel
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Human Development and Family Studies
Abstract

The present longitudinal study examined the role of general and tailored social support in mitigating the deleterious impact of racial discrimination on depressive symptoms and optimism in a large sample of African American women. Participants were 590 African American women who completed measures assessing racial discrimination, general social support, tailored social support for racial discrimination, depressive symptoms, and optimism at two time points (2001-2002 and 2003-2004). Our results indicated that higher levels of general and tailored social support predicted optimism 1 year later; changes in both types of support also predicted changes in optimism over time. Although initial levels of neither measure of social support predicted depressive symptoms over time, changes in tailored support predicted changes in depressive symptoms. We also sought to determine whether general and tailored social support “buffer” or diminish the negative effects of racial discrimination on depressive symptoms and optimism. Our results revealed a classic buffering effect of tailored social support but not general support on depressive symptoms for women experiencing high levels of discrimination.

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This is an author's accepted manuscript from Journal of Black Psychology 40 (2014): 3–26, doi:10.1177/0095798412469227. Posted with permission.

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Sun Jan 01 00:00:00 UTC 2012
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