Date of Award

2015

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Jasmine Mena

Abstract

Racial discrimination is detrimental to the professional success of Black Americans. Black racial identity can potentially mitigate the harmful effects of discrimination on professional success. The present study attempted to add to the literature exploring the interaction of racial identity and perceived discrimination, to measure its influence on educational attainment and occupational prestige. Using a sample of 365 adult Black Americans from the New England area of the United States, this study examined whether racial identity (i.e., Black private regard and Black centrality) moderated the effect of perceived discrimination stress on (a) educational attainment and (b) occupational prestige using two hierarchical multiple regression models. This study also assessed gender differences between Black males and females in their reports of perceived discrimination stress, racial identity, educational attainment and occupational prestige using two multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) models.

Consistent with expectations, racial identity, more specifically Black centrality moderated the effect of perceived discrimination stress on educational attainment. However, results differed from expectations, as racial identity did not moderate the effect of perceived discrimination stress on occupational prestige. Furthermore, Black males reported greater amounts of stress from perceived discrimination, supporting the original hypothesis, but there were no significant differences between men and women in regards to educational attainment or occupational prestige. Future directions in research are discussed in consideration of study limitations.

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