Ethnic Identity and Regional Differences in Mental Health in a National Sample of African American Young Adults

Monnica T. Williams, Gerardo Duque, Chad T. Wetterneck, L. Kevin Chapman, Ryan C.T. DeLapp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

Prior research has found that a strong positive ethnic identity is a protective factor against anxiety and depression in African Americans. In this study, ethnic identity is examined in a geographically representative sample of African American young adults (n = 242), using the Multigroup Ethnic Identity Measure (MEIM) (Phinney in J Adolescent Res 7:156–76, 15). The two-factor structure of the measure (Roberts et al. in J Early Adolescence 19:301–22, 1) was analyzed using a structural equation model and displayed an acceptable fit only when multiple error terms were correlated. A multigroup confirmatory factor analysis revealed measurement equivalence of the two-factor structure between African Americans from Southern and non-Southern regions of the USA. We found that significantly higher levels of ethnic identity were present among African American in the South compared to other regions, and region significantly predicted total ethnic identity scores in a linear regression, even when controlling for gender, age, urbanicity, and years of education. Furthermore, among African Americans, living in the South was significantly correlated with less help-seeking for diagnosed depression, anxiety, and/or obsessive-compulsive disorder, where help-seeking was defined as obtaining a diagnosis by a professional. The role of ethnic identity and social support are discussed in the context of African American mental health.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)312-321
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities
Volume5
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 2018
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • African Americans
  • Assessment
  • Ethnic differences
  • Ethnic identity
  • Measurement
  • Mental health
  • Regional differences

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Anthropology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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