Date of Award

11-10-2008

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Counseling and Psychological Services

First Advisor

Y. Barry Chung - Chair

Second Advisor

Melissa Alves

Third Advisor

Catherine Chang

Fourth Advisor

Phillip Gagne

Abstract

Racism has been identified as a profoundly traumatic and a psychologically damaging experience affecting Black people (Harrell, 2000; White & Parham, 1990; Williams & Williams-Morris, 2000). It has been theorized that one of the most devastating effects racial oppression (i.e. racism and discrimination) is the internalization of that oppression (Bailey, Chung, Williams, & Singh, 2006; Speight, 2007). Speight (2007) argued that an understanding of racism would be incomplete without considering how it is internalized. Internalized racial oppression is the process through which Black people consciously and unconsciously internalize and accept the dominant White culture’s oppressive actions and beliefs towards Black people, while at the same time rejecting an African worldview and cultural motifs (Bailey, Chung, Williams, & Singh, 2006). Internalized racial oppression is believed to adversely affect the psychological health of Black people. This study examined the construct validity of the Internalized Racial Oppression Scale (IROS; Bailey et al., 2006) through the use of confirmatory factor analysis and social desirability. Additionally, this study investigated internalized racial oppression as a predictor of the endogenous factors of Psychological Distress, Psychological Well-Being, Personal Self-Esteem, Collective Self-esteem, and Life Satisfaction through the use of latent variable path analysis. It was hypothesized that, similar to racial oppression; greater levels of internalized racial oppression will predict greater psychological distress, lower psychological well-being, lower personal self-esteem, lower collective self-esteem, and lower satisfaction with life among Black college students. Three hundred seventy Black students (Cohort 1 = 102, Cohort 2 = 268) participated in this study. Cohort 1 consisted of students recruited from a predominately White university in the Southeastern region of the United States. Cohort 2 consisted of a national sample of students. Participants from Cohort 1 completed a pencil and paper survey, while the participants from Cohort 2 completed a survey via online. The results supported the factorial structure of the IROS. Further, the results found that the IROS was a predictor of psychological distress, psychological well-being, collective self-esteem, and satisfaction with life. Implications for research and practice are discussed.

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