Healing while Black in the U.S.: adverse childhood experiences, ethnic identity, psychological sense of community, and complete mental health of emerging adults
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The present study drew on the Phenomenological Variant of Ecological Systems Theory (PVEST) to investigate the impact of socioecological factors on the mental health of Black emerging adults in the United States. Specifically, the sought to explore the relationship between ethnic identity and psychological sense of community (PSoC) to each other, the relationship between adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) to complete mental health (CMH), and whether both ethnic identity and PSoC would serve as possible protective factors to support the mental health of Black emerging adults who experience negative effects ACEs. The results suggest the relationship between ethnic identity and psychological sense of community was significant and positive and the relationship between adverse childhood experiences and complete mental health was significant and negative. The results also suggested that ethnic identity seemingly buffered the negative relationship between ACEs and CMH and that PSoC also seemed to buffer the negative relationship between ACEs and CMH. Examples of implications included considering the results to inform educational curricula as well as culturally affirming, attuned, and sustainable prevention and intervention strategies to mental health care. A few limitations to the research process included self-report, survey attrition, and not exploring within group differences. Future directions for research include but are not limited to, exploring additional moderators of ACEs on Black youth's mental health outcomes, and updating ACEs-related instruments to include racism and racial discrimination or using updates measures that can capture the psychological impact of elements related to systemic oppression and state-sanctioned violence on Black people.