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Race-Related Stress and Hopelessness in Community-Based African American Adults

African American sociologist W.E.B. Du Bois argued that the causes of racial differences in health was affected primarily by social factors, and he concluded that the higher level of poor health for black individuals was caused by the harmful effects of racism, prejudice and discrimination (Sternthal, Williams 2010). Some research has shown that internalized racism has harmful effects on the mental health of an individual, as they accept and believe the dominant ideology of their ethnic/racial group (Sternthal, Williams 2010). As previously mentioned, the stress of being a minority also impacts a person’s psychological health. The term “race-related stress” has been coined by scholars to define the additional stress African Americans and other minority groups experience, and it plays a role in the physical and psychological health outcomes of these individuals (Odafe, Salami and Walker 2017). In previous literature race-related stress has been positively correlated with depression, anxiety, low self-esteem and overall poor well-being and life satisfaction (Odafe et al. 2017). The findings of a study done by Odafe, Salami, and Walker (2017) showed that race-related stress was associated with feelings of hopelessness, which is reported as the strongest predictor of suicidality amongst black individuals, but social support counteracted this. The strength and solidarity of ethnic identification and connectivity with those of your minority group can reduce the impact of stress of discrimination on psychological well-being