Can Parenting Microprotections Buffer Against Adolescents' Experiences of Racial Discrimination?
Dotterer AM., James A.
Previous research highlights the importance and pervasiveness of racial discrimination for minority youth in the United States. Adolescents may experience either personal or group race-based discrimination. While past research found both forms of discrimination are harmful to well-being it is unknown whether parental microprotections, which may buffer against the negative effects of discrimination, protect against both forms of discrimination. Informed by ecological frameworks the present study examined whether parent microprotections (parental warmth/acceptance, cultural socialization, preparation for bias) buffered the effects of personal and group discrimination on adolescents' depressive symptoms. Participants were African American early adolescents (N = 129; 58% female) and their parents (90% mothers). Adolescents attended a Midwestern, Title 1, urban, public middle school and completed surveys in their homerooms and parents completed paper-pencil surveys at home, online or surveys via telephone. Multiple regression analyses were conducted to test whether adolescents' personal and group discrimination at school were related to their reports of depressive symptoms and evaluate whether parent microprotections buffered these associations. Results showed that parental microprotections moderated the effects of personal discrimination on depressive symptoms but did not buffer the effects of group discrimination. These results highlight the importance of distinguishing between personal and group discrimination. Further, additional protective factors need to be identified and tested to better understand parental actions that potentially buffer the negative effects of discrimination.