Running Head: RACIAL IDENTITY AND MENTAL HEALTH
The Effect of Racial Identity on Mental Health
for African-American College Students
The purpose of this study is to determine the effect racial identity has on mental health. Racial identity will be measured by the Cross Racial Identity Scale (CRIS). This scale is based on Cross’s 1991 revised model of nigrescence. Previous studies have indicated that certain racial identity attitudes lead to lower levels of mental health. However, racial identity was measured by scales (primarily, the RIAS-B) based on Cross’s earlier (1971) version of nigrescence. In the revision, the four stages are the same as the 1971 version. In the 1991 and subsequent 2000 version of the theory, Cross has integrated the multidimensional nature of three of the four stages. Because of its transient nature, the Encounter stage was not changed significantly. There were six factors on the CRIS that emerged as independent constructs—Pre-Encounter (Assimilation, Miseducation, and Self-Hatred), Immersion-Emersion Anti-White, Internalization (Black Nationalism and Multiculturalism). Mental health was conceptualized through the Mental Health Questionnaire, the Satisfaction With Life Scale and the Affectometer 2. Results indicated that racial identity (a reference group orientation variable) did not have a significant on the personal identity variable (mental health). Possible contraindications and recommendations for future research are noted.
Discourse on the psychology of African Americans has not been particularly affirming to African-Americans. Much of the literature pertaining to Black identity from 1936 and 1967 focused, primarily, on self-hatred and group rejection as a typical aspect of Black psychological functioning (Cross, 1991). It was believed that progression toward a stable Black identity required significant personality and identity changes especially given the volume of research that indicated the vulnerability to...