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Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology - Vol 23, Iss 1

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Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology seeks to publish theoretical, conceptual, research and case study articles that promote the development of knowledge and understanding, application of psychological principles, and scholarly analysis of social-political forces affecting racial/ethnic minorities.
Copyright 2017 American Psychological Association
  • Culture and biology interplay: An introduction.
    Objective: Culture and biology have evolved together, influence each other, and concurrently shape behavior, affect, cognition, and development. This special section highlights 2 major domains of the interplay between culture and biology. Method: The first domain is neurobiology of cultural experiences—how cultural, ethnic, and racial experiences influence limbic systems and neuroendocrine functioning—and the second domain is cultural neuroscience—the connections between cultural processes and brain functioning. Results: We include 3 studies on neurobiology of cultural experiences that examine the associations between racial discrimination and heart rate variability (Hill et al., 2016), economic and sociocultural stressors and cortisol levels (Mendoza, Dmitrieva, Perreira, & Watamura, 2016), and unfair treatment and allostatic load (Ong, Williams, Nwizu, & Gruenewald, 2016). We also include 2 studies on cultural neuroscience that investigate cultural group differences and similarities in beliefs, practices, and neural basis of emotion regulation (Qu & Telzer, 2016), and reflected and direct self-appraisals (Pfeifer et al., 2016). Conclusions: We discuss pending challenges and future directions for this emerging field. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Examining the association between perceived discrimination and heart rate variability in African Americans.
    Objective: Previous research attempting to delineate the role of discrimination in racial/ethnic disparities in hypertension has focused largely on blood pressure, which is chiefly governed by the sympathetic branch of the autonomic nervous system. Consequently, few studies have considered the role of the parasympathetic branch and particularly its regulation of the heart via the vagus nerve. Method: In the present cross-sectional study, we employed hierarchical linear regressions to examine associations between perceived ethnic discrimination and resting heart rate variability (HRV), an important biomarker of parasympathetic cardiac modulation and overall health, in a sample (N = 103) of young, healthy African American participants (58% female, Mage = 19.94 years, SD = 2.84). Results: After accounting for demographic factors and health status characteristics, lifetime discrimination emerged as an inverse predictor of HRV. When subdomains of discrimination were considered, discrimination attributable to threats or actual acts of aggression was also predictive of lower HRV. Conclusions: Our findings suggest that a greater lifetime burden of discrimination and discriminatory harassment and/or assault is associated with lower resting HRV in African Americans. The implications of these findings are discussed in the context of past, present and emerging research emphasizing biological linkages between discrimination and health. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • The effects of economic and sociocultural stressors on the well-being of children of Latino immigrants living in poverty.
    Objective: This article explored whether preschoolers’ physical (body mass index [BMI] and salivary cortisol levels) and psychological (internalizing/externalizing behaviors) well-being were predicted by economic hardship, as has been previously documented, and further, whether parental immigration-related stress and/or acculturation level moderated this relationship in low-income Latino families. Method: The sample for the current study included 71 children of Latino immigrants (M = 4.46 years, SD = .62). Parents completed questionnaires assessing immigration-related stress, acculturation level, economic hardship, and child internalizing and externalizing behaviors. Child’s BMI was also calculated from height and weight. Salivary cortisol samples were collected midmorning and midafternoon at home on non-child-care days. Salivary cortisol values were averaged and log transformed. Results: Children’s salivary cortisol was predicted by an interaction between economic hardship and acculturation, with lower cortisol values except when children were protected by both lower acculturation and lower economic hardship. Both internalizing and externalizing behaviors were predicted by an interaction between economic hardship and immigration-related stress, with highest behaviors among children whose parents reported high levels of both economic hardship and immigration-related stress. Conclusions: The effects of economic hardship on the well-being of young children of Latino immigrants may depend on concurrent experiences of sociocultural stress, with detrimental effects emerging for these outcomes only when economic hardship and sociocultural stressors are high. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Everyday unfair treatment and multisystem biological dysregulation in African American adults.
    Objective: Increasing evidence suggests that chronic exposure to unfair treatment or day-to-day discrimination increases risk for poor health, but data on biological stress mechanisms are limited. This study examined chronic experiences of unfair treatment in relation to allostatic load (AL), a multisystem index of biological dysregulation. Method: Data are from a sample of 233 African-American adults (37–85 years; 64% women). Perceptions of everyday unfair treatment were measured by questionnaire. An AL index was computed as the sum of 7 separate physiological system risk indices (cardiovascular regulation, lipid, glucose, inflammation, sympathetic nervous system, parasympathetic nervous system, hypothalamic pituitary adrenal axis). Results: Adjusting for sociodemographics, medication use, smoking status, alcohol consumption, depressive symptoms, lifetime discrimination, and global perceived stress, everyday mistreatment was associated with higher AL. Conclusions: The results add to a growing literature on the effects of chronic bias and discrimination by demonstrating how such experiences are instantiated in downstream physiological systems. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Cultural differences and similarities in beliefs, practices, and neural mechanisms of emotion regulation.
    Objective: The current research examined whether culture shapes the beliefs, practices, and neural basis of emotion regulation. Method: Twenty-nine American and Chinese participants reported their implicit theory of emotion and frequency of reappraisal use. They also underwent an fMRI scan while completing an emotion regulation task. Results: Chinese (vs. American) participants reported more frequent use of reappraisal, which was mediated by their higher incremental theory of emotion (i.e., believing that emotion is changeable through effort). Although there were some cultural similarities in neural activation during emotion regulation, Chinese participants showed less ventrolateral prefrontal cortex (VLPFC) activation than American participants when regulating negative emotions. Lower VLPFC activation was associated with higher incremental theory of emotion and more frequent use of cognitive reappraisal. Conclusions: Findings suggest that culture may shape how individuals perceive and engage in emotion regulation, and ultimately, the neural mechanisms underlying emotion regulation. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Neural systems for reflected and direct self-appraisals in Chinese young adults: Exploring the role of the temporal-parietal junction.
    Objectives: Although cortical midline structures (CMS) are the most commonly identified neural foundations of self-appraisals, research is beginning to implicate the temporal-parietal junction (TPJ) in more interdependent self-construals. The goal of this study was to extend this research in an understudied population by (a) examining both direct (first-person) and reflected (third-person) self-appraisals across 2 domains (social and academics), and (b) exploring individual differences in recruitment of the TPJ during reflected self-appraisals. Method: The neural correlates of direct and reflected self-appraisals in social and academic domains were examined in 16 Chinese young adults (8 males, 8 females; aged 18–23 years) using functional MRI. Results: As expected, when making reflected self-appraisals (i.e., reporting what they believed others thought about them, regardless of domain), Chinese participants recruited both CMSs and the TPJ. Similar to previous research in East Asian and interdependent samples, CMSs and the TPJ were relatively more active during direct self-appraisals in the social than in the academic domain. We additionally found that, to the extent participants reported that reflected academic self-appraisals differed from direct academic self-appraisals, they demonstrated greater engagement of the TPJ during reflected academic self-appraisals. Exploratory cross-national comparisons with previously published data from American participants revealed that Chinese young adults engaged the TPJ relatively more during reflected self-appraisals made from peer perspectives. Conclusions: In combination with previous research, these findings increase support for a role of the TPJ in self-appraisal processes, particularly when Chinese young adults consider peer perspectives. The possible functional contributions provided by the TPJ are explored and discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Neighborhood context, psychological outlook, and risk behaviors among urban African American youth.
    Objectives: Researchers have found a link between neighborhood risk factors and youth risk behaviors. However, the pathways by which this occurs remain poorly understood. This study sought to test a hypothesized pathway that suggests the influence of neighborhood risk on sexual risk and substance use among urban African American youth may operate indirectly via their psychological outlook about current and future opportunities. Method: Secondary data analysis using structural equation modeling (SEM) was used to test the conceptual framework. The sample included 592 African American youth (61% female, 39% male) mean age 15.58 years, 1.23 SD. A modified structural equation model (SEM) met prespecified global fit index criteria. Results: The model contained 3 indirect paths linking increased neighborhood risk to increased sexual risk and substance use through higher levels of negative psychological outlook and youth approval of substance use. Conclusions: These findings increase our understanding of factors that influence the initiation and progression of substance use and sexual risk behaviors among urban African American adolescents. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • “Ethnicity moderates the outcomes of self-enhancement and self-improvement themes in expressive writing”: Correction to Tsai et al. (2015).
    Reports an error in "Ethnicity moderates the outcomes of self-enhancement and self-improvement themes in expressive writing" by William Tsai, Anna S. Lau, Andrea N. Niles, Jordan Coello, Matthew D. Lieberman, Ahra C. Ko, Christopher Hur and Annette L. Stanton (Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, 2015[Oct], Vol 21[4], 584-592). In this article, there were three errors in the Results section. Each are described in the erratum alongside the correct results. The interpretations of the findings remain the same. (The following abstract of the original article appeared in record 2014-32908-001.) The current study examined whether writing content related to self-enhancing (viz., downward social comparison and situational attributions) and self-improving (viz., upward social comparison and persistence) motivations were differentially related to expressive writing outcomes among 17 Asian American and 17 European American participants. Content analysis of the essays revealed no significant cultural group differences in the likelihood of engaging in self-enhancing versus self-improving reflections on negative personal experiences. However, cultural group differences were apparent in the relation between self-motivation processes and changes in anxiety and depressive symptoms at 3-month follow-up. Among European Americans, writing that reflected downward social comparison predicted positive outcomes, whereas persistence writing themes were related to poorer outcomes. For Asian Americans, writing about persistence was related to positive outcomes, whereas downward social comparison and situational attributions predicted poorer outcomes. Findings provide evidence suggesting culturally distinct mechanisms for the effects of expressive disclosure. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Risk, resilience, and depressive symptoms in low-income African American fathers.
    Objective: Parental depression influences family health but research on low-income African American fathers is limited. The primary goal of the present study was to examine the role of paternal risk factors and resilience resources in predicting depressive symptoms in the year after birth of a child in a sample of African American fathers. We hypothesized that paternal risk factors (low socioeconomic status [SES], perceived stress, negative life events, racism, avoidant coping style) and resources (social support, self-esteem, collective efficacy, approach-oriented coping style) would predict depressive symptoms in fathers at 1 year postbirth controlling for depressive symptoms at 1 month postbirth. Method: African American fathers (n = 296) of predominantly low SES from 5 U.S. regions were interviewed at 1 and 12 months after birth of a child regarding potential risk factors, resilience resources, and depressive symptoms. Results: Depressive symptoms were low on average. However, hierarchical linear regression analyses revealed that avoidant coping style and experiences of racism predicted more depressive symptoms in fathers nearly a year after the birth of a child controlling for symptoms at 1 month. Conclusions: How fathers cope with stress and common everyday experiences of racism contributed to depressive symptoms in the year following birth of a child. Interventions that target race-related stressors and decrease avoidant coping may promote better outcomes in this important and understudied population. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Family dynamics and aggressive behavior in Latino adolescents.
    Objectives: Despite high prevalence rates and evidence that acculturation is associated with adolescent behavioral and mental health in Latino youth, little research has focused on aggressive behavior for this population. The aim of the current study was to fill this research gap by examining the influence of several aspects of family functioning, including parent–adolescent conflict, parent worry, and parent marital adjustment, on aggression among Latino adolescents. Method: Data come from the Latino Acculturation and Health Project (LAHP), a longitudinal investigation of acculturation in Latino families in North Carolina and Arizona. Hierarchical linear modeling was used to estimate a longitudinal rater effects model of adolescent aggression as reported by 258 Latino adolescents each paired with 1 parent for a total of 516 participants across 4 time points over a span of 18 months. Results: Results indicated a general decline in aggression over the study window. In addition, parent–adolescent conflict and parent worry predicted higher adolescent aggression whereas parent marital adjustment predicted lower adolescent aggression. Conclusions: The salience of family risk factors for aggression among Latino adolescents is discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • The intersection of Fatalismo and pessimism on depressive symptoms and suicidality of Mexican descent adolescents: An attribution perspective.
    Objectives: The purpose of the present study is to examine the role fatalismo beliefs and pessimistic attributions on depressive symptoms, hopelessness, and suicidality of Mexican descent adolescents. The major premise of this study is that it is the interaction between the level of negative attribution and fatalismo beliefs that explains the relationship with mental health outcomes, not the fatalistic belief itself. Method: A sample of 524 Mexican descent adolescents from a midsized city in south Texas was surveyed (age range = 14–20 years; M = 16.23 years; SD = 1.10 years). Results: Linear and logistic multiple regression analyses demonstrate that pessimism is independently and positively related to depressive symptoms, hopelessness, suicidal ideation, plans, and attempts. Predetermination and luck beliefs were not found to be independently related to any outcomes; however, there were significant interaction effects between pessimism and predetermination beliefs on suicidal ideation and plans. Conclusions: The findings of this study highlight the need to study fatalismo multidimensionally, use culturally relevant measures, and account for attributions to understand the affect of fatalismo on mental health outcomes. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Racial awakening: Epiphanies and encounters in Black racial identity.
    Objective: The current study was guided by Nigrescence theory (Cross, 1971, 1991) and explored the phenomenon of racial awakening or epiphanic experiences of Black adults. We were interested in describing the context and perceived outcomes of the epiphanies in participants’ understanding of what it means to be Black. Method: Sixty-four adults participated in racial life narrative interviews. There was an equivalent number of men and women who participated from 4 sites: Australia, Bermuda, South Africa, and the United States. Results: Findings from dimensional analysis highlight the turning points, triggers, and awakening or epiphanies in one’s racial identity. Specifically, in this study racial awakening or increased awareness about the meaning of being Black was spurred by personal experiences and/or observations, education, and activism. Participants discussed increased racial activism, racial pride, and possible-selves after the process of racial awakening and continued exploration. Only 1 participant described disappointment and despair after a racial epiphany. Conclusions: Findings extend our understanding of the process in which people develop a sense of racial consciousness. Insights may help inform future researchers in terms of identifying racial awakening prototypic stories and counselors in terms of providing opportunities to assist individuals in the meaning-making process. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Playing up and playing down cultural identity: Introducing cultural influence and cultural variability.
    Objectives: Cultural variability (CV) is introduced as an overlooked dimension of cultural identity development pertaining to emphasizing and de-emphasizing the influence of a single cultural identity (i.e., cultural influence [CI]) on daily interactions and behaviors. The Cultural IDentity Influence Measure (CIDIM) is introduced as a novel measure of CI and CV, and hypothesis-driven validation is conducted in two samples along with exploration of associations between CV and well-being. Method: A multicultural sample of 242 emerging adults participated in a daily diary study (Mage = 19.95 years, SDage = 1.40) by completing up to eight daily online surveys containing the CIDIM, criterion measures (ethnic identity, other group orientation, ethnic identity salience and daily variability in salience, social desirability), and measures of personal and interpersonal well-being. A second validation sample (n = 245) completed a 1-time survey with the CIDIM and a subset of criterion measures. Results: Results using both samples show evidence of CI and CV and demonstrate the validity, reliability, and domain-sensitivity of the CIDIM. Further, CV made unique and positive contributions to predicting interaction quality after accounting for ethnic salience and variability in ethnic salience. An analytic approach utilizing standard deviations produced near-identical results to multilevel modeling and is recommended for parsimony. Conclusions: Ethnic minority and majority individuals make daily adjustments to play up and play down the influence of cultural identity on their social interactions and behaviors, and these adjustments predict interpersonal well-being. Cultural influence and cultural variability contribute to our emerging understanding of cultural identity as dynamic and agentic. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Academic disidentification in Black college students: The role of teacher trust and gender.
    Objectives: Research has identified academic disidentification as a phenomenon that appears to uniquely impact Black male students. However, few empirical studies examine what underlies such gender differences. This study examined whether students’ teacher trust is a factor underlying academic disidentification in Black college students and whether this is moderated by gender. Academic disidentification was investigated by examining the strength of the relation between a student’s view of his or her academic abilities in comparison to peers (i.e., academic self-concept [ASC]) and the student’s academic outcomes (i.e., grade point average [GPA]). Attribution theory was used as a lens to test a hypothesized multigroup path model that linked age to teacher trust and ASC, and ASC to GPA through teacher trust. Alternative models were also tested. Method: Participants were 319 Black students (120 males and 199 females) recruited from a large, southwestern, predominantly White university. Results: Results revealed the hypothesized model fit the data reasonably well, whereas the alternative models resulted in a poorer fit. The final model supported our hypothesis that the relation between ASC and GPA is partially mediated by teacher trust and this relation was moderated by gender, such that the indirect effect was significantly stronger for males than females. Several significant differences were also found across gender for direct paths. Conclusions: These findings suggest college students’ trust of faculty may be particularly important for Black males and is likely a contributing factor to academic disidentification. Practical implications for university professionals’ facilitation of Black college students’ academic development are discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Feminist identity among women and men from four ethnic groups.
    Objective: Multiracial feminist theory proposes that the meaning of feminism and the pathways to feminist identity may differ on the basis of cross-cutting social categories such as ethnicity and gender. However, there is currently little research that has included systematic examination of feminist identity among women and men from diverse ethnic backgrounds. Method: We examined feminist orientations among 1,140 undergraduates (70% women) at a Hispanic-Serving Institution who identified as African American, Asian American, European American, or Latina/o. Three related research aims were assessed through a combination of closed- and open-ended questions. First, we examined whether the meaning of the term feminism differed depending on participants’ ethnicity or gender. We then tested for ethnic and gender variation in rates of feminist identity. Lastly, we examined participants’ reasons for either identifying or not identifying as feminists. Results: Ethnic and gender differences were obtained across each of the 3 research aims. For example, there were significant ethnic differences in rates of feminist identity among women, but not among men. Conclusion: Relative to past research, through the current study, we have provided an especially comprehensive examination of how ethnicity and gender interact to shape feminist attitudes. Consistent with multiracial feminist theory, findings demonstrated that attitudes about feminism vary as a function of both gender and ethnicity, yet key ethnic and gender similarities also emerged. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Framing and source effects on White college students’ reactions to racial inequity information.
    Objectives: This study addressed: (a) Do professors’ race/ethnicity and the race-related inequity information they present influence students’ evaluations of the professors, acknowledgment of racial inequity, or motivation to respond without prejudice (MRWP)? (b) Do collective guilt and students’ evaluations of professors mediate these relationships? Method: White American undergraduate students (N = 614, 66.3% females, 64.7% first year, mean age of 19.3 years [age SD = 1.5]) completed an anonymous online survey. Students imagined they were taking a racial diversity course with either a Black or a White male professor who presented either White privilege or Black disadvantage statements. Participants then completed surveys that assessed their evaluations of the professor, collective guilt, beliefs regarding racial inequity, and MRWP. Results: Students evaluated White professors as having lower expertise, learning conduciveness, and warmth/intelligence but rated Black professors as more biased. Consistent with the inequality-framing model, intergroup sensitivity effect (ISE), and findings from prejudice confrontation research, White professors induced greater acknowledgment of racial inequity when they discussed White privilege rather than Black disadvantage. But, Black professors induced more external MRWP when they presented White privilege rather than Black disadvantage. Students’ perceptions of the professors’ warmth/intelligence determined the effectiveness of the inequity message while perceptions of the professors’ expertise, judgmental, and conduciveness to learning determined students’ concerns about appearing prejudiced. Conclusions: The presenters’ race/ethnicity and how they frame racial inequity information affect students’ evaluation of the presenters, the message effectiveness, and students’ external MRWP. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Biracial perception in black and white: How Black and White perceivers respond to phenotype and racial identity cues.
    Objectives: This study investigates how racial identity and phenotypicality (i.e., racial ambiguity) shape the perception of biracial individuals in both White and Black perceivers. We investigated complex racial categorization and its downstream consequences, such as perceptions of discrimination. Method: We manipulated racial phenotypicality (Black or racially ambiguous) and racial identity (Black or biracial) to test these cues’ influence on Black and White race categorizations in a sample of both White (n = 145) and Black (n = 152) identified individuals. Results: Though racial identity and phenotypicality information influenced deliberate racial categorization, White and Black participants used the cues in different ways. For White perceivers, racial identity and phenotypicality additively influenced Black categorization. For Black perceivers, however, racial identity was only used in Black categorization when racial ambiguity was high. Perceived discrimination was related to White (but not Black) perceivers’ distribution of minority resources to targets, however Black categorization related to perceived discrimination for Black perceivers only. Conclusion: By demonstrating how Black and White individuals use identity and phenotype information in race perceptions, we provide a more complete view of the complexities of racial categorization and its downstream consequences. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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