Name: Grace Mirabito

Ph.D. Dissertation Defense Meeting

Date: Thursday, October 12th, 2023

Time: 2:00 PM EST


Meeting ID: 987 2601 8633

Passcode: 354602


Advisor: Paul Verhaeghen, Ph.D. (Georgia Tech)


Dissertation Committee Members:

Hsiao- Wen Liao, Ph.D. (Georgia Tech)

Chris Stanzione, Ph.D. (Georgia Tech)

Shawn Utsey, Ph.D. (Virginia Commonwealth University)

Natalie Watson-Singleton, Ph.D. (Spelman College)

Title: Mindfulness and its Relationship to Race-Related Stress, Racial Identity, Age, Gender, and SES Across Multiple Racial Minorities

Abstract: Racism is still a very pervasive problem in our nation. The literature on racism and race-related stress has predominately focused on African American populations, which is not surprising since they experience a disproportional amount of discrimination compared to other ethnicities. Nevertheless, due to the different lived experiences with racism and discrimination for each minority, I believe it is important to assess multiple racial groups’ experiences with racism (e.g. African American, Asian American, and Latinx persons). Racism can lead to race-related stress and thus to significant detriments in mental and physical health outcomes in People of Color (POC). This study took a novel and exploratory approach to understanding whether mindfulness, coping, and ethnic identity can buffer against the effects of race-related stress. Using a single-point-in-time online survey amongst 676 Asian American, African American, and Latinx participants measuring trait mindfulness, coping, ethnic identity, frequency of exposure to racism, rumination, race-related stress, anxiety, well-being, depression, and demographic factors (i.e., age, gender, education, income, and personality). Using multigroup structural equation modeling, I investigated whether mindfulness, coping, and ethnic identity mitigated the effects of race-related stress on rumination and psychological outcomes amongst POC. I found that at high levels of ethnic identity and some mindfulness subscales, there was greater use of adaptive coping skills, reduced race-related stress and rumination, and improved psychological outcomes. Additionally, I found that at high levels of exposure to racism, the cascade from mindfulness to race-related stress to psychological outcomes was worsened. Results were promising concerning the protective effects of most mindfulness subscales and ethnic identity against race-related stress. These variables exerted their influence primarily through the mediator coping. There were also negative effects of exposure to racism on the psychological outcomes. The only mindfulness variables that had a negative impact were Nonjudgement (in the African American sample only) and Observing, where Nonjudgement’s effect is most likely caused by personality, age, or some unmeasured variable, while the effects of Observing are most likely caused by detrimental effects of monitoring without acceptance. Furthermore, many of these pathways (58 out of 64 pathways) do not vary by ethnicity suggesting a primarily universal relationship across groups. The present study was successful in collecting a large sample of POC to compare across group differences and demonstrated that many of these mindfulness, ethnic identity, coping, and race-related stress processes exist similarly across multiple ethnic groups.