Racial Trauma, Psychological Well-Being, And The Moderating Effect of Resilience in African American Adults



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Racial trauma, or traumatization resulting from one’s real or perceived experience with racial maltreatment, is among the most psychologically harmful and pervasive stressors for African American adults. Yet research is scarce on the negative effects of racial trauma on overall psychological well-being, and no research exists regarding the moderating effect of internal resilience on the aforementioned association. The purpose of the study was to explore the moderating effect of resilience on the association between racial trauma and comorbid psychological well-being in a non-clinical sample of African American adults. Participants were African American adults aged 18 to 74 years who 1) completed a web-based battery of questionnaires to assess racial trauma-related symptoms, depressive symptoms, anxious symptoms, suicide ideation, and life satisfaction (N = 190), and 2) completed a one-hour, clinician-administered assessment for racial trauma (N = 134). Findings indicated that racial trauma was associated with psychological well-being and resilience moderated the association for two facets of psychological well-being, depression and anxiety, in African American adults. These findings highlight resilience’s buffering effects at high levels and reinforce resilience as a protective internal factor that diminishes racial trauma’s deleterious effects.



Racial trauma, Well-being, Resilience, African Americans