The influence of cognitive development and perceived racial discrimination on the psychological well-being of African American youth

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20 Scopus citations


The present study examined the influence of cognitive development in the relationship between multiple types of racial discrimination and psychological well-being. A sample of 322 African American adolescents (53% female), aged 13-18, completed measures of cognitive development, racial discrimination, self-esteem and depressive symptoms. Based on the cognitive development measure, youth were categorized as having pre-formal or formal reasoning abilities. The results indicate no significant differences in perceptions of individual, cultural or collective/institutional racism between pre-formal reasoning and formal reasoning adolescents. However, the results do suggest that perceptions of collective/institutional racism were more harmful for the self-esteem of pre-formal reasoning youth than the self-esteem of formal reasoning youth. The implications for the racial discrimination literature among African American adolescents are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)694-703
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Youth and Adolescence
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2010
Externally publishedYes



  • Adolescents
  • African Americans/Blacks
  • Cognitive development
  • Psychological well-being
  • Racial discrimination

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Social Psychology
  • Education
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)

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