K. Jill Kiecolt and Michael Hughes, Department of Sociology, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University; Verna M. Keith, Department of Sociology and Center for Demography and Population Health, Florida State University.
Race, social relationships, and mental health
Version of Record online: 19 MAY 2008
© 2008 IARR
Volume 15, Issue 2, pages 229–245, June 2008
How to Cite
KIECOLT, K. J., HUGHES, M. and KEITH, V. M. (2008), Race, social relationships, and mental health. Personal Relationships, 15: 229–245. doi: 10.1111/j.1475-6811.2008.00195.x
We thank Dale W. Wimberley, Theodore R. Fuller, and Debra Umberson for their helpful comments and suggestions.
- Issue online: 19 MAY 2008
- Version of Record online: 19 MAY 2008
Researchers often assume that the extent, quality, and effectiveness of personal relationships explain why African Americans have relatively good mental health despite experiencing high levels of stress. This study tests this assumption using data from the 1990–1992 National Comorbidity Survey. Few racial differences emerge in patterns of social relationships, and the nature and quality of social relationships do not explain African Americans’ resiliency on mental health. Several aspects of social relationships benefit African Americans’ mental health more than Whites’, but these moderating effects are insubstantial. Hence, the data do not support the assumption. If social relationships help explain the lack of racial differences in mental health, their nature and effects must be more adequately conceptualized.