Racial (vs. self) affirmation as a protective mechanism against the effects of racial exclusion on negative affect and substance use vulnerability among black young adults.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Affirming one's racial identity may help protect against the harmful effects of racial exclusion on substance use cognitions. This study examined whether racial versus self-affirmation (vs. no affirmation) buffers against the effects of racial exclusion on substance use willingness and substance use word associations in Black young adults. It also examined anger as a potential mediator of these effects. After being included, or racially excluded by White peers, participants were assigned to a writing task: self-affirmation, racial-affirmation, or describing their sleep routine (neutral). Racial exclusion predicted greater perceived discrimination and anger. Excluded participants who engaged in racial-affirmation reported reduced perceived discrimination, anger, and fewer substance use cognitions compared to the neutral writing group. This relation between racial-affirmation and lower substance use willingness was mediated by reduced perceived discrimination and anger. Findings suggest racial-affirmation is protective against racial exclusion and, more generally, that ethnic based approaches to minority substance use prevention may have particular potential.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Stock, ML; Gibbons, FX; Beekman, JB; Williams, KD; Richman, LS; Gerrard, M

Published Date

  • April 2018

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 41 / 2

Start / End Page

  • 195 - 207

PubMed ID

  • 28905204

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC5844790

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1573-3521

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1007/s10865-017-9882-7


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States