University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
Place of Publication
Racism-related stress models argue that racism can illicit psychological and physiological stress responses in Black and African American people. These stress responses can negatively influence the overall wellbeing of individuals who experience racism. Like other stressors and traumatizing events, racism can be experienced directly or vicariously. There are many studies that observe the various impacts of direct racist experiences on Black and African American people but less is known about the possible effects of indirect experiences of racism. The present study examined the nature and negative effect of vicarious racial trauma in Black and African American college students through different mediums of transmission. A sample of 27 Black and African American students primarily attending the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga completed a survey assessing Black identity, racial traumatic stress, coping strategies for racial discrimination, and knowledge of racially violent events. The findings suggest that Black and African American college students’ racial identity influences their perceptions of racist events and the number of coping strategies they use. Furthermore, those who learned of racially discriminatory events, like the George Floyd murder in 2020, through social media experienced more racial traumatic stress. Implications for the relationship between personal racial identification and perceptions of racially discriminatory events, as well as the possible impact of chronic exposure of racial trauma through social media are discussed.
I'd like to thank my thesis advisor Dr. Arnold for her guidance, patience, and support throughout this process. Thank you Dr. Howell for being a part of my thesis committee and providing me with valuable insight for this project. Lastly, I'd like to thank my family for always encouraging me to do the best in everything I do. I could not have done any of this without you all!
B. S.; An honors thesis submitted to the faculty of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the degree of Bachelor of Science.
African Americans--Education (Higher); African American college students--Race identity; Racism--Psychological aspects
Baker, Kiara, "Examining vicarious racial trauma in college students" (2023). Honors Theses.