Perceived Racism and Mental Health Among Black Americans

Pieterse, A. L., Todd, N. R., Neville, H. A., & Carter, R. T. (2012). Perceived racism and mental health among Black American adults: A meta-analytic review. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 59(1), 1-9.

To investigate the relationship between perceived racism and well-being, Pieterse, Todd, Neville, and Carter (2012) conducted a meta-analysis of 66 peer-reviewed studies published between 1996 and 2011 that involved a total of 18,140 Black American adults. Individuals who reported more exposure to racism and who appraised these incidents as more stressful were more likely to report symptoms of mental distress, such as depression and anxiety.  In fact, the authors observed that the psychological responses to racism manifested by the participants in these studies had characteristics similar to psychological symptoms of trauma.  In response to these findings, Pieterse and colleagues suggested that (1) the intake protocol used by counselors working with Black clients should include an assessment of racism-related experiences, (2) therapeutic interventions with Black clients should include providing an understanding of the psychological consequences of exposure to racism, and (3) antiracism advocacy should be a component of counselor education.

Making Connections

Mental health
Meta-analysis
Prejudice
Racism
Trauma
Well-being

Media Supplement

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