Protective factors for mental health outcomes among African American female adolescents
This thesis examines the roles that Racial Identity and its dimensions (Racial Centrality, Private Regard, Public regard, Ideology- Nationalist, Humanist, Assimilationist, and Oppressed Minority) play in the relationship between Stressful Life Events and Mental Health Challenges. These relationships are examined in a sample of 245 African American female adolescents aged 15-19 that attended a high school in a large city in the southern United States. The study is two-pronged; one branch is an examination of more complex missing data handling methods that can be utilized with a large number of items in order to run moderated regression analyses. The second branch focuses on the analyses themselves and how they inform the ways in which the field currently conceptualizes racial identity and its impact on psychological well-being. 8 factored regression specification models were run using Blimp software, a procedure involving 4 core stages: analysis of missing data, selection of the optimal missing data handling procedure, selection of auxiliary variables, and the running (and amelioration) of the models themselves. This offered a great deal of insight into the utility of factored regression specification in models ranging from 54 to 62 binary and ordinal items and the impact of equality constraints that facilitate successful convergence. The results of the moderated regression analyses revealed relationships between Stressful Life Events and Mental Health Challenges, Racial Centrality and Mental Health Challenges, and Assimilationist Ideology and Sadness/Depressed Mood. These findings inform the new directions that the field can pursue in better understanding the complexities of racial identity and mental health among African American girls.