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Sex Differences in Skin Tone Predicting Depressive Symptoms among College Students of Color
Jenifer Rodriguez, Jenna Minter, Depts. of Psychology and Political Science, Eryn DeLaney, Dept. of Psychology Graduate Student, & Chloe Walker, Dept. of Psychology Graduate Student, with Dr. Chelsea D. Williams, Dr. Amy Adkins, Dr. Tricia Smith, & Dr. Danielle Dick, Dept. of Psychology
Skin tone, or more specifically the meaning and treatment that society attaches to skin tone, has been found to impact individuals’ outcomes, with those with darker skin tones (who experience more colorism) experiencing more negative outcomes (e.g., Norwood, 2014). However, less research has tested whether there are sex differences in these relations. Intersectionality theory (Crenshaw, 1989) suggests that one’s lived experiences result from their holistic experiences of intersecting aspects of themselves (e.g., skin tone and sex). Thus, to address gaps in research, the current study examined sex as a moderating variable in the relation between skin tone and depressive symptoms among 81 college students of color who were part of a larger study on cultural experiences, genetics, and ancestry. We hypothesized that sex would moderate this relation, such that skin tone would predict greater depressive symptoms, and this association would be weaker among males compared to females (Hunter, 2007). A linear regression was conducted to test our hypothesis. Findings indicated that sex moderates the relation between skin tone and depressive symptoms, however, in a direction contrary to our hypothesis. In particular, there was no relation between skin tone and depressive symptoms among females (B = .08, p = .54), however, for males, those with darker skin tones had lower depressive symptoms (B = -.53, p = .02). In conclusion, this study pushes for more research on the sex differences in how skin tone affects mental health among college students.
Chelsea D. Williams, Ph.D.
Amy Adkins, Ph.D.
Tricia Smith, Ph.D.
Danielle Dick, Ph.D.
Virginia Commonwealth University. Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program
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VCU Undergraduate Research Posters
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