Racial Discrimination and Risky Sex: Examining Cognitive-Emotional Factors in Black College Students

Laura Reid Marks, Allison Schimmel-Bristow, Leigh M. Harrell-Williams, Candice Hargons

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Using the lifespan biopsychosocial model of cumulative vulnerability and minority health as a theroretical lens, the present study proposed two models to test the relationships among racial discrimination, cognitive–emotional factors, and risky sexual behaviors in a sample of 302 Black college students in the United States. Our models provided support for some of the hypothesized direct and indirect pathways. As expected, overt racial discrimination and subtle racial discrimination (i.e., racial microaggression) were both positively related to cognitive–emotional factors (i.e., anxiety, depression, hopelessness, and hostility). Racial microaggressions were significantly positively related to risky sexual behaviors, but overt racial discrimination was not. Hostility was the only cognitive–emotional factor that facilitated an indirect, significant effect from racial microaggressions to risky sexual behaviors. Potential implications are discussed for practice, training programs, and future counseling psychology research with Black college students using the lifespan biopsychosocial model of cumulative vulnerability and minority health.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)594-621
Number of pages28
JournalCounseling Psychologist
Volume50
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: This project was funded by a University of Memphis Faculty Diversity Grant.

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2022.

Keywords

  • anxiety
  • depression
  • hopelessness
  • hostility
  • lifespan biopsychosocial model of cumulative vulnerability and minority health
  • racial microaggressions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology

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