Discrimination, microaggressions, appropriated oppression, and racial/ethnic socialization among Latinx emerging adults: A moderated-mediation model



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Racial/ethnic discrimination is a chronic stressor for ethnic minorities within the United States (U.S.), including Latinx emerging adults, and has been associated with higher levels of depressive symptoms and lower levels of self-esteem. However, what may be even more harmful are perceptions of covert discriminatory experiences, such as racial/ethnic microaggressions. As Latinx emerging adults are exposed to both overt and covert discrimination and are living within a society with a long history of racial oppression, some are likely to adopt and incorporate the beliefs related to racism into their way of navigating the world, thereby, experiencing appropriated oppression. Racial/ethnic socialization, which is the process through which parental messaging shapes an individual’s understanding of their ethnic group and others’, has been suggested as important in enabling one to manage such cultural stressors. Thus, the present study aimed to evaluate appropriated oppression as a mediator between overt and covert discrimination with Latinx emerging adults’ mental health. Additionally, racial/ethnic socialization was examined as a potential protective or risk factor in the association between both types of discrimination and appropriated oppression among Latinx emerging adults. Resilience theory, which describes positive adaption in the face of adversity, and the ethnic perspective-taking ability (EPTA) model was used as the theoretical framework for this study. Using structural equation modeling, the hypothesized moderation-mediation model did not demonstrate adequate fit to the data. However, a mediation model was supported after the moderating non-significant racial/ethnic socialization domain was removed. The findings of the present study suggest that both discrimination and microaggressions are related to higher levels of depressive symptoms and lower levels of self-esteem. Additionally, appropriated oppression was found to significantly mediate the relationships between discrimination and microaggressions with depressive symptoms but not self-esteem. Implications for researchers and clinicians on the mechanisms contributing to Latinx emerging adults’ various experiences of discrimination are discussed.

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Discrimination, Microaggressions, Appropriated Oppression, Internalized Racism, Latinx, Latina, Latino