Racial discrimination, a common experience for many African Americans, has been conceptualized within a stress and coping framework. However, few have examined whether racially stressful events are appraised and coped with differently from nonracially stressful events. The present study uses a daily diary method to examine African American college students' appraisals and coping behaviors in racially and nonracially stressful situations. The study examines the following 3 questions: 1) Do African Americans appraise racially stressful events differently from nonracially stressful events? 2) Do they cope with racially stressful events differently from nonracially stressful events? and 3) Do they cope with racially stressful events differently from nonracially stressful events, even after controlling for differences in cognitive appraisals of the events? The present sample consists of 35 participants who reported experiencing at least one racially stressful event and at least one nonracially stressful event during a 20-day diary study. Overall, no differences were found in students' appraisals in the racially stressful versus nonracially stressful events. Participants used less planful problem solving and more confrontive, ruminative, and avoidance coping strategies in the racially stressful events as compared with the nonracially stressful events. These findings suggest a need for race-specific models for coping with racial discrimination.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Social Psychology
- Sociology and Political Science
- African Americans
- Cognitive appraisals
- Nonracially stressful event
- Racially stressful event