The moderating role of centrality on associations between ethnic identity affirmation and ethnic minority college students mental health

Aerika S. Brittian, Adriana J. Umaña-Taylor, Richard M. Lee, Byron L. Zamboanga, Su Yeong Kim, Robert S. Weisskirch, Linda G. Castillo, Susan Krauss Whitbourne, Eric A. Hurley, Que Lam Huynh, Elissa J. Brown, S. Jean Caraway

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Background: Prior literature has shown that ethnic affirmation, one aspect of ethnic identity, is positively associated with mental health. However, the associations between ethnic affirmation and mental health may vary depending how much importance individuals place on their ethnic group membership (ie, centrality).Methods: Using path analysis, the current study examined the relations between ethnic affirmation and indices of mental health problems (ie, anxiety and depressive symptoms), and tested whether the process was moderated by ethnic centrality among 3,659 college students representing 3 ethnic groups (41% Latino/a, 35% Asian American, and 24% African American) who participated in a large, multisite university study.Results and Conclusions: Results suggested that the associations between ethnic affirmation and mental health were stronger for Latino/a and Asian American students who reported higher levels of ethnic centrality. For African Americans, higher levels of ethnic affirmation predicted better mental health, but this association did not vary as a function of ethnic centrality.
Original languageAmerican English
JournalJournal of American College Health
StatePublished - 2013


  • ethnic affirmation
  • ethnic centrality
  • ethnic identity
  • mental health


  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychology

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