Author ORCID Identifier


Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Ciara Smalls Glover


Racial discrimination negatively affects Black emerging adults’ psychological adjustment, including increased psychological distress and decreased psychological well-being. However, not all who experience racial discrimination report negative psychological adjustment. A strength-based model of resilience for Black youth suggests that ethnic-racial socialization (ERS) and racial coping are two culturally grounded assets that promote adaptive functioning despite experiences of racial discrimination. While research often considers these factors through a variable-centered approach, recent research suggests examining ERS and coping using a person-centered approach may more accurately capture how the constructs function. While research demonstrates that ERS and racial coping are distinct but related constructions, no study has yet to examine how the two constructs work in tandem to influence psychological well-being for Black emerging adults, who often are experiencing racial discrimination for the first time independently. The purpose of the current study was to examine how ERS messages and coping strategies contribute to the psychological adjustment of Black emerging adults in the context of racial discrimination using a person-centered approach. Black college students (N = 548, Mage= 20.63) were recruited to complete measures of ethnic-racial socialization, racial coping strategies, and psychological well-being and distress. Results from regression analyses indicated problem-focused coping and avoidance coping predicted psychological distress and racial pride messages, problem-focused coping, and avoidance coping were associated with psychological well-being. Using latent profile analysis, three patterns of ERS and racial coping were identified. The Moderate profile included participants who reported near-average frequencies of ERS messages and racial coping strategies. The Low Diversified Socialization and Response profile was characterized by lower-than-average mean levels of ERS messages and racial coping strategies. The High Diversified Socialization and Multifaceted Response profile displayed higher-than-average frequencies of ERS messages and all racial coping strategies. Though differences in psychological well-being between profiles emerged, those in the High Socialization and Diverse Response reported significantly less distress than the other two profiles. Findings from this study highlight the importance of studying ERS and racial coping strategies in tandem as part of how they protect against adverse psychological adjustment for Black emerging adults.


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