Racism and Aggression Relationship to Depression and Stress

Racism and Aggression: The mediator of depression and stress

Racial discrimination had been a pervasive phenomenon across the globe. Although racial discrimination is more likely to be experienced by the racial minorities (Sellers & Shelton, 2003), racial majorities are not excluded from experiencing racial discrimination (Borrelli??et al., 2007). Racial discrimination can be defined as unequal treatment towards certain people or group due to their race and ethnicity (Pager & Shepherd, 2008).

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Racial discrimination occurs in the daily lives of victims and has adverse impacts on well-being (Carter & Forsyth, 2010; Carter, 2007b). The negative impacts that arise from racial discrimination manifest itself in health behaviors (Brodish et al., 2011; Borrell, Kiefe, Diez-Roux, Williams, & Gordon-Larsen, 2013), emotional well-being (Gibbons et al., 2014), and psychological functioning (Carter, 2007b; Lowe, Okubo, & Reilly, 2012).

Brodish et al. (2011) conducted a study on African American adolescents investigating the effect of racial discrimination on physical health behaviors such as diet, exercise, and substance usage. Brodish and colleagues found that people who have higher exposure to perceived racial discrimination are more likely to engage in unhealthy eating behaviors and substance abuse. They also explained that people tend to engage in such unhealthy behaviors in response to the discrimination they face. Similarly, Borrell et al. (2013) examines the relationship between racial discrimination and substance usage among adults. They found that adults who experienced racial discrimination have higher usage of marijuana and cocaine compared to adults who did not experienced racial discrimination. Gibbons et al. (2014) also conducted a study measuring the effects of racial discrimination on health status and behavior. They reported that racial discrimination leads to decline of mental health, health problems, and alcohol abuse. To add on, their study also found that anger/hostility mediates the relationship between racial discrimination and substance abuse. In other words, a victim of racial discrimination who felt angry/ hostile and distress from the discrimination are more likely to engage in substance abuse. In short, racial discrimination lead one to be more hostile and then the victim will engage in unhealthy behaviors.

Racism and Mental Health

Brody et al. (2006) conducted a longitudinal study measuring the effect of racial discrimination and adjustment among African American. They found that perceived racial discrimination is associated with depressive symptoms. Cunningham and Paradies (2012) conducted a study measuring the relationship between racism and mental health and found that racism contributes to psychological distress. Another study by Coker et al. (2009) examines the relationship between racial discrimination and mental health among children found a positive relationship between racism and depression, oppositional defiant disorder (ODD),attention deficit hyperactivity disorder(ADHD), and conduct disorder. Additionally, Carter (2007a) found that racial discrimination may produce psychological and emotional injury that impairs victims. Carter (2007b) categorized these impairments as race-based traumatic stress as the trauma/ stress as the experiences lead the victims to be distress. In addition, Lowe et al. (2012) conducted a qualitative study on racism and trauma. Their study found that people with racism experiences are traumatized till their adulthood. They also found that reflection on the past racism experiences will trigger strong negative emotions. In short, painful emotions that stems from racial discrimination lead one to be distress and have long-lasting trauma towards its victims.

Although racism has various impacts on mental health, this study intends to examine the impact on depression (e.g., Paradies & Cunningham, 2012; Brondolo et al., 2011; Carter & Forsyth, 2010) and stress (Carter & Forsyth, 2010; Kaduvettoor-Davidson & Inman, 2013).

Santana, Almeida-Filho, Roberts, and Cooper (2007) conducted a study measuring the perception of racism and depression among adolescents. They found that people who reported racial discrimination experiences are more likely to have depressive symptoms and major depression. Additionally, Brondolo et al. (2011) conducted a study measuring the impact of racism on self-reported health by using and found people who experienced racial discrimination are more likely to be depressive, anxious, and hostile. In short, the existing studies shows there a consistent relationship between racism and depression.

Carter and Forsyth (2010) conducted a study on the emotional and psychological reactions of racism victims towards the racism experiences. Their study concluded that victims are more likely to be stressful and may experience traumatic stress after the event. In addition, the study conducted by Kaduvettoor-Davidson and Inman (2013) supported this finding as they also found that racial discrimination is linked with higher rate of emotional stress. Lastly, Anderson (2013) found that a positive relationship between racial discrimination and physical a,nd emotional stress. Therefore, it can be concluded that victims of racism are more likely to be stressful and may experience traumatic stress after encounter racism experiences.

Racism, Racial Microaggressions, and Aggression

Previous studies that document relationship between racism and aggression tend to emphasize on the study of racial microaggressions (e.g., Ong, Burrow, Fuller-Rowell, Ja, & Sue, 2013; Owen, Tao, Imel, Wampold, & Rodolfa, 2014). Racial microaggressions can be defined as intentional and unintentional, stunning behaviors (verbal and non-verbal) that put down people of other races (Pierce, Carew, Pierce-Gonzalez, & Wills, 1978; Sue et al., 2007). Racial microaggressions include insults and discriminatory messages that occur in the daily lives of victims. For example, televisions in United States tend to show blacks to have lesser participation in family activities and lesser positive relationship with others (Pierce et al., 1978). According to Sue et al. (2007), racial microaggressions manifest itself in three ways, i) microassault, ii) microinsult, iii) microinvalidation. Microassaults are verbal and nonverbal attacks are intended to create distress among victims such as avoidance and name-calling. On the other hand, microinsults are rude and insensitive statements that are intended to lower the status of the victim’s race. Lastly, microinvalidation refers to statements that are intended to nullify and exclude the psychological thoughts, emotions, and feelings that stems from the victim’s race. For example, an Asian American who is complimented for their English language proficiency or are frequently asked their place of origins, the effect is to nullify his/her nationaly (American) and convey that they are continual foreigners (Sue et al., 2007).

The study of Buss and Perry (1992) classify aggression into four components, i) physical aggression, ii) verbal aggression, iii) anger, and iv) hostility. These components are similar to the manifestation of racial microaggressions proposed by Sue et al. (2007). However, it should be noted that Buss and Perry (1992) proposed the manifestation of aggression on daily basis examination of aggression on a general scale, while racial microaggression emphasize on aggressive behaviors that occurs towards victims of certain races.

There are several studies that examine the relationship between racism and aggression. Leonard and Taylor (1981) conducted a study measuring the effects of racial prejudice on aggression among undergraduate males. They found that people with racial discrimination experience are more likely to act aggressively towards any accessible targets. In addition, Caldwell, Kohn-Wood, Schmeelk-Cone, Chavous, and Zimmerman (2004) conducted a study on racial discrimination and young adult violent behavior. Their study found that young adults who experienced racial discrimination are more likely to engage in violent behavior. The authors reasoned young adults’ violent behaviors as the response towards the racial oppression they faced. Liang and Borders (2012) also conducted a study measuring the relationship between perceived ethnic discrimination and aggression and found a positive correlation between perceived ethnic discrimination and aggression.

Amidst the well documentation racism and racial microaggressions, little attention has been given to the relationship between racism and aggression (Beal, O’Neal, Ong, & Ruscher, 2000).

Theoretically, a country that is compromised with multi-ethnic citizens such as Malaysia is more prone to face racial discrimination. Thus, it is crucial for the researchers to examine the impact of racial discrimination in Malaysia. [A1]

Would this relationship emerge in Malaysia context?[C2]
How can racism contribute to aggression[A3]?
Will psychological well-being be able to explain this relationship?

The present study attempts to address these theoretical and practical gaps. Therefore, this study intends to propose a new model by using the existing studies. This study proposes that the relationship of racism and aggression can be explained by a variable, which is mental health.

Write between racism and aggression then with mental health. Then another sentence to propose racism increase aggression through mental health. Use back the model mentioned by carter to link.

Current study

This study examines whether perceived racial discrimination is correlated with aggression, and the mediators (depression and stress) in Malaysia. Specifically, this study examines the role of mental health (depression and stress) in the relationship between racism and aggression.

Methodology

Measures

Brief perceived ethnic discrimination questionnaire- Community version (Brief PEDQ-CV). This 17-item self-reported measurement was used in this study to examine perceived discrimination. Brondolo et al. (2005) developed the Brief PEDQ-CV, a shorter version of the original PEDQ-CV. Brief PEDQ-CV has 5 subscales: i) Exclusion (4 items), ii) Workplace discrimination (4 items), iii) Stigmatization (4 items), iv) Threat and harassment (4 items), v) Police (1 item). Participants respond to the items on a 5-point scale, ranging from 1 (Never) to 5 (Very Often).

Depression, Anxiety, and Stress Scale (DASS-21). This 21-item self-reported measurement was used in this study to examine the mental health of the participants. DASS-21 is the shorter version of the original DASS-42 developed by Lovibond and Lovibond (1995). There are 3 subscales in this measurement which are: i) Depression, ii) Anxiety, and iii) Stress. Each subscale has 7 items. Participants respond to the items with a 4-point scale, ranging from 0 (Did not apply to me at all /Never) to 3 (Applied to me very much, or most of the time/Almost Always).

Aggression Questionnaire (AQ). This 12-item self-reported measurement was used in the study to examine the aggression level of the participants. The 12-item AQ used in this study is the refined version of the original 29-item self-reported AQ (Bryant & Smith, 2001). There are 4 subscales in this measurement which are: i) Physical Aggression, ii) Verbal Aggression, iii) Anger, and iv) Hostility. There are 3 items per subscales. Participants are required to answer the self-report measure by scoring the items from the scale of 1 (Not at all like me) to 5 (Completely like me).

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