The Compounded Effects of Classism and Racism on Mental Health Outcomes for African Americans

Klaus E. Cavalhieri, Melanie M. Wilcox

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Much research exists demonstrating that experiences of racism are detrimental to the mental health of African Americans; however, Lewis and Van Dyke (2018) argued that examining the effects of racism alone neglects the intragroup diversity (and thus intersectional oppression) of African Americans. Thus, and given the economic oppression experienced by African Americans, the present study sought to examine the compounded effects or racism and classism on African Americans’ mental health. African American participants (N = 113) were recruited from an online crowdsourcing platform. A multivariate multiple regression was performed to examine the effects of racism, classism, and the interaction of racism and classism on depression, stress, and well-being. After controlling for gender, age, and employment status, classism, but not racism, was significantly related to stress, well-being, and depression. The interaction effect of racism and classism was also significantly related to stress and well-being, with participants endorsing more of both racism and classism reporting better mental health outcomes, consistent with the resilience (rather than the greater risk) perspective. Findings suggested that experiences of classism are detrimental to the mental health and well-being of African Americans, but that greater experiences of both racism and classism were actually related to better, not poorer, mental health and well-being

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)111-120
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Counseling Psychology
Volume69
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2022

Keywords

  • African americans
  • Classism
  • Intersectionality
  • Mental health
  • Racism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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