Making the best of a bad situation: Proactive coping with racial discrimination

Robyn K. Mallett, Janet K. Swim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Proactive coping with racial discrimination takes three forms: self-focused coping, situation-focused coping, and avoidance. Overall, African Americans used self-focused coping more than situation-focused coping or physical avoidance, though there were interesting differences between retrospective recall of racial discrimination and daily reports. Relative to reports during the diary week, when recalling how they typically dealt with racial discrimination, African Americans overestimated their use of situation-focused strategies and underestimated their use of self-focused strategies. For both retrospective and daily reports, proactive coping was positively related to primary appraisals of harm but unrelated to secondary appraisals of resources. African American identification, but not stigma consciousness or optimism, was uniquely associated with proactive coping. We discuss the potential benefits and limitations of proactive coping with racial discrimination.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)304-316
Number of pages13
Journalbasic and applied social psychology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Applied Psychology


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