Racial Discrimination Experienced by Black Parents: Enduring Mental Health Consequences for Adolescent Youth

Chardée A. Galán, Jocelyn I. Meza, Ty A. Ridenour, Daniel S. Shaw

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Objective: Despite evidence linking experiences of racial discrimination by Black parents and problem behaviors in youth, little is known about the mechanisms that explain this link. To elucidate these developmental pathways, a serial mediation model was tested, in which Black parents’ experiences of racial discrimination were hypothesized to predict increased parental depression and parent–child conflict in early adolescence, which in turn would be associated with youth depression, anxiety, and conduct problems in early to mid-adolescence. Method: Participants were 252 Black parent–child dyads. Youth (56% female) were on average 11.98 years old at study entry (wave 1). Parents and youth completed questionnaires during a home-based assessment at wave 1 and were assessed again 1 and 2 years later (waves 2 and 3). Results: Black parents’ experiences of racial discrimination at wave 1 were linked to higher levels of parent–child conflict at wave 2 (0.20; 95% CI [0.05, 0.33]), which in turn predicted greater youth-reported depression at wave 3 (0.30; 95% CI [0.15, 0.47]). There was a significant indirect effect of racial discrimination on youth-reported depression via parent–child conflict (indirect effect: 0.06, 95% CI [0.02, 0.10]). Findings were replicated across multiple outcomes (ie, depression, anxiety, conduct problems) and multiple informants (ie, youth report, parent report). There was no evidence to support a serial mediation model via parental depression and then parent–child conflict. Conclusion: This study identified a developmental pathway from Black parents’ experiences of racial discrimination to adolescent problem behaviors via parent–child conflict. Findings may inform interventions aimed at promoting resilience in parents and youth faced with pervasive racism. Clinical trial registration information: Substance Use Screening and Prevention for Adolescents in Pediatric Primary Care (SKY); https://clinicaltrials.gov/; NCT03074877.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1251-1261
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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