The Role of Racial Identity in Perceived Racism and Psychological Stress Among Black American Adults: Exploring Traditional and Alternative Approaches


Alex L. Pieterse, Division of Counseling Psychology, University at Albany, State University of New York, ED 242, 1400 Washington Avenue, Albany, NY 12222. E-mail:


This investigation tested whether racial identity status attitudes moderated the relationship between perceived racism and psychological functioning in a sample of 340 Black American adults. The study utilized 2 approaches to racial identity assessment: the standard group-means approach, plus a profile analysis of individual racial identity statuses. Results based on the group-means approach indicated that racial identity did not moderate the relationship between racism and psychological functioning. Findings based on the profile analysis, however, indicated that individuals whose profile type was identified as internalization-dominant exhibited the lowest levels of general life stress, the lowest levels of psychological distress, and the highest levels of psychological well-being. Implications for ongoing research are discussed.