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Caregiver Experiences of Discrimination and African American Adolescents’ Psychological Health Over Time


  • This research was supported through a grant from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH5 R01 MH61967-02). The fourth author is the principal investigator of the grant. We thank the members of the African American Family Project for their help with data collection.

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Kahlil R. Ford, c/o the BERC Group 22232 17th Ave SE, Suite 305, Bothell, WA 98021. Electronic mail may be sent to


The present study examined the effect of caregivers' experiences of racial discrimination on their adolescent children's psychological functioning among a sample of 264 African American dyads. Potential relations between caregiver discrimination experiences and a number of indicators of adolescents' (aged 12–17) psychological functioning over time were examined. It was found that caregiver discrimination experiences were positively related to adolescents' symptoms of depression and negatively related to their psychological well-being. Additional analysis revealed interactions between the effects of caregiver discrimination experiences and family income on all 3 outcomes. Greater caregiver discrimination experiences and lower family income were risk factors for the youth in the sample. These findings underscore the deleterious consequence of caregivers' discrimination experiences on African American youth's psychological health.