A Longitudinal Examination of Racial Identity and Racial Discrimination Among African American Adolescents


  • This research was supported by grants from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH 5 R01 MH061967-03), the National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities, and the National Science Foundation. We thank the African American Family Project for their help with data collection and we gratefully acknowledge the assistance of Shelly Harrell.

concerning this article should be addressed to Eleanor K. Seaton, Department of Psychology, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Campus Box 3270, Davie Hall, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3270. Electronic mail may be sent to eseaton@unc.edu.


This study tested the longitudinal association between perceptions of racial discrimination and racial identity among a sample of 219 African American adolescents, aged 14 to 18. Structural equation modeling was used to test relations between perceptions of racial discrimination and racial identity dimensions, namely, racial centrality, private regard, and public regard at 3 time points. The results indicated that perceived racial discrimination at Time 1 was negatively linked to public regard at Time 2. Nested analyses using age were conducted, and perceptions of racial discrimination at Time 2 were negatively linked to private regard at Time 3 among older adolescents. The findings imply that perceived racial discrimination is linked to negative views that the broader society has of African Americans.