Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy




Psychology (Counseling Psychology)

First Advisor

Nathaniel G Wade


Despite some politicized claims that racial discrimination no longer exists (Neville, Gallardo, & Sue, 2016), there is strong evidence that racial minorities still experience significant discrimination in the United States (Belgrave & Allison, 2014). As a result, empirical research of racial discrimination is still warranted. Meta-analyses show that perceived racial discrimination has a strong effect on psychological well-being, such as depressive symptoms and self-esteem (Lee & Ahn, 2011; Paradies et al., 2015). There is also empirical support that racial discrimination is linked with academic outcomes (e.g., academic motivations and achievement; Benner, Wang, Shen, Boyle, Polk, & Cheng, 2018). Although racial discrimination is a risk factor for poorer psychological well-being and reduced academic function, ethnic-racial socialization (ERS) may buffer these effects (Brown and Tylka 2011). In addition, recent research suggests that studying the effects of the combination of various types of ERS messages (meta-messages) buffers the negative impacts on psychological well-being and academic achievement (Granberg, Edmond, Simons, Gibbons, & Lei, 2012; Neblett, Chavous, Nguyên, & Sellers, 2009). Therefore, this study explored the: a) relationship of perceived racial discrimination to academics and psychological well-being and b) buffering effects of ERS meta-messages on mitigating the impact of racial discrimination in a longitudinal sample of African American young adults. Results of the present study indicated mixed results about the buffering effects of ERS meta-messages on the relationship between perceived racial discrimination and the outcome variables of interest. Additional analyses showed some significant buffering effects of ERS scales on the relationship between discrimination and educational attainment. The present study suggests that ERS may be beneficial in protecting African American youth from the deleterious effects of racial discrimination. However, further research is needed to determine the specific impacts of ERS meta-messages compared to ERS discrete messages as a buffer against perceived racial discrimination.


Copyright Owner

Jennifer L. L. Major



File Format


File Size

138 pages