Author ORCID Identifier

Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Fantasy Lozada

Second Advisor

Brendesha Tynes

Third Advisor

Shawn Jones

Fourth Advisor

Jamie Cage

Fifth Advisor

Chelsea Williams


Online racism (i.e., racism perpetrated and embedded within media and platforms on the Internet) is increasingly becoming a public health concern. Recent empirical evidence demonstrates that over a three year period, Black adolescents reported experiencing at least one online racial discriminatory incident, including exposure to racist images or videos within digital spaces (Tynes et al., 2020). One way in which Black adolescents are exposed to online racism is through the consumption of digital news media on the coverage of racially traumatic events (e.g., murders of Black men and women by police officers, racial hate crimes committed against Black people) and the associated racist commentary of other online users. Recent findings have suggested that discussion about racially stressful and traumatic events on digital spaces is related to an increase in psychological distress, including depression and posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms (Anyiwo et al., 2018; Quintana & McKown, 2008), which highlights the relevance of examining online racism as a risk to Black adolescents' mental health. While researchers have explored the effects of online racism on psychological distress (Tynes et al., 2012; Keum & Cano, 2021), these investigations have focused on the cross-sectional effects that mostly highlight how short-term and unidimensional aspects of online racism are associated with mental health indicators. However, recent scholarship has identified and classified many dimensions of online racism (Tynes et al., 2018), of which Black adolescents have varied types of exposure. Further, although racism scholars have identified a number of cultural processes and assets (e.g., critical consciousness and racial identity) that may protect Black youth in the face of racism (Matthews et al., 2020), there has been little investigation of whether these cultural processes and assets inform Black adolescents’ ability to identify online racism. The overarching goal of this dissertation is to examine the longitudinal change of online racism and its longitudinal associations with mental health indicators of depression and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms. Additionally, I examined how Black adolescents’ ethnic-racial awareness (e.g., public regard and critical reflection) predicts Black adolescents’ change in reporting online racism across two timepoints. Specifically, the current dissertation’s specific aims were (1) to investigate the change of exposure across the dimensions of online racism and (2) to investigate the associations between developmental cultural assets, longitudinal change of online racism, and mental health symptoms among Black adolescents. A sample of 135 self-identified Black adolescents ranging from 11-19 years old (Mage = 14 years; SD = 2.44) completed a battery of surveys online that measured their frequency of individual online racial discrimination (ORD), vicarious ORD, traumatic events online, public regard, critical reflection, and depression and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms. To address specific aim 1, I ran a series of repeated measures analyses of variance (ANOVA) to determine whether Black adolescent’s scores of individual, vicarious, and TEO online racial discrimination scores change over time. Results revealed that Black adolescents reported similar levels of vicarious ORD (F(1, 133) = .084, p = .773, partial η2 = .001) and traumatic events online (F(1, 133) = 1.643, p = .202, partial η2 = .1) at baseline and one year later. However, Black adolescents’ reported different frequencies of individual ORD (F(1, 132) = 66.406, p < .001, partial η2 = .34), with wave 2 individual ORD (M = .48, SD = .53) occurring less frequently than than wave 1 reports (M = .97, SD = .74). To address specific aim 2, I conducted a series of measured variable path analysis models to understand how public regard and critical reflection were related to changes in online racism (e..g, individual ORD, vicarious ORD, and traumatic events online) exposure and subsequently how change in online racism exposure predicts depression and PTSD symptoms among Black adolescents. In sum, the results indicated that public regard was not related to changes in any indicator of online racism exposure, while critical reflection (β = 0.18, p = .039) was only significantly related to greater changes in individual ORD exposure. Moreover, greater change in individual ORD exposure (β = 0.19, p = .006) and vicarious ORD (β = .02, p = .030) but not traumatic events online was associated with wave 2 depression. PTSD was not related to changes in online racism exposure.


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Available for download on Thursday, May 07, 2026