Racial discrimination and mental health : temporal dynamics and neurocognitive moderators
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Experiencing racial discrimination is related to both mental and physical health (Mays et al., 2007; Pascoe and Richman, 2009; Schmitt et al., 2014). However, much of this research focuses on population-level relationships using cross-sectional samples and questionnaires, which is unable to examine temporal relationships between the experience of racial discrimination and mental health outcomes. The current study examined the effect of racial discrimination experience by Black college students at the University of Missouri using Ecological Momentary Assessment. A complex temporal relationship between reported discrimination and affect, depression, and anxiety emerged, such that reports of discrimination had an immediate negative effect, resulting in higher levels of negative affect, depression, and anxiety. However, this negative effect did not persist and instead resulted in an increase in positive affect several hours after the report. Additionally, neurocognitive indices of attention to threat neither corresponded as expected to frequency of reports of discrimination, nor moderated the effect of discrimination as expected.
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