Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Dr. Chelsea D. Williams

Second Advisor

Dr. Fantasy Lozada

Third Advisor

Dr. Kristina Hood

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Marcia Winter

Fifth Advisor

Dr. Jamie Cage


Black families' mental health, including that of the children and caretakers, is a persistent public health concern. Existing work documents that parental racial socialization messages are a protective process for the psychological well-being of Black children, youth, and emerging adults (Bannon et al., 2009). The majority of work to date has focused on youth, and we have limited information about the effects of racial socialization on caregivers’ mental health outcomes. It is also essential to examine the relation between racial socialization and outcomes among caregivers because, aside from their identity as parents, caregivers have other identities and experiences that deserve attention. Furthermore, in addition to examining the effects of both youth reports and caregiver reports of racial socialization and the impact on both individuals’ outcomes, it is essential to understand the factors that underlie the racial socialization process for both youth and caregivers. Guided by the integrative model for the study of stress in Black American families (Murry et al., 2018), the current study addresses numerous gaps to provide a comprehensive understanding of the antecedents and outcomes associated with racial socialization among Black families. Mediation analyses were used to examine aspects of racial socialization messages that mediate the relation between risk factors and youths’ and parents’ mental health well-being. Direct paths were also examined as part of the mediation analyses and youths’ and parents’ sex were included as covariates predicting outcomes. Further, to determine if cultural characteristics (e.g., parents’ and youths’ ERI centrality) serve as a moderator between risk factors and racial socialization messages, we created interaction terms between youths’ and parents’ report of risk (i.e., discrimination or ACEs) and their cultural characteristics predicting mental health symptoms, via youths’ and parents’ perception of various racial socialization messages. Findings indicated that youths’ and parents’ centrality and private regard are moderators of the relation between risk factors and racial socialization messages. Additionally, parents’ racial barrier messages predicted youths’ worsened mental health. Overall, findings highlight the importance of also considering ethnic-racial identity when examining how risk informs perceptions of racial socialization and, in turn, mental health symptoms. Findings are addressed in detail below and provide crucial empirical support for intervention and implementation efforts to address mental health disparities for Black youth and caregivers.


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