Date of Award

5-11-2015

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Ciara Smalls-Clover, PhD

Second Advisor

Lisa Armistead, PhD

Third Advisor

Chris Henrich, PhD

Fourth Advisor

Kelly Lewis, PhD

Abstract

Intersectionality theory has been put forth to explain how gender and race dually impact and act upon African American women (e.g., Settles, 2006; Thomas et al., 2008). Although there is a growing body of literature on the negative effect that perceived racism has on Black/African Americans well-being and that sexism has on women’s well-being, there is a paucity of research on the intersection of racism and sexism (i.e., gendered racism) and its influence on African American women’s well-being (e.g., Perry, Pullen, & Oser, 2012; Thomas et al., 2008). To address this gap in the literature, the current study examined gendered racism’s impact on African American women’s well-being (i.e., depressive and anxiety symptoms, life satisfaction, and the quality of their social relationships). Additionally, the protective (moderating) influence of racial identity, in particular racial centrality, racial public regard, and racial private regard, on the gendered racism and well-being relationship was examined. Self-identified African American, adult women (N = 249) were recruited from a southeastern metropolitan university. Lastly, the gendered racism measure used in the study, the Revised Schedule of Sexist Events (Thomas et al., 2008), appears to be a valid and reliable measure of African American women’s gendered racism experiences. Regression analyses found that more frequent experiences with gendered racism was associated with more depressive and anxiety symptoms. More frequent experiences of gendered racism were also associated with less optimal social relationships and poorer life satisfaction. Furthermore, racial identity dimensions did not moderate the impact of gendered racism on African American women’s well-being. Future studies should consider identities or worldviews that are theoretically aligned with the tenets of intersectionality theory as protective factors against the effect of gendered racism on African American women’s well-being.

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