Racial Malleability and Psychological Well-Being

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The current study findings also suggest that there is a significant positive relationship between racial malleability and psychological well-being as measured by life satisfaction. This finding adds to the research on racial malleability as previously it has only been studied in relationship to negative aspects of psychological well-being as measured by the CES-D. Sanchez, Shih and Garcia (2009) found that being more racially malleable was associated with greater depressive symptoms, and that this relationship was mediated by having an unstable racial regard. In the current study, racial regard could not be explored as a mediator given the non-significant relationship between racial malleability and perceived stress. Also, there was no direct effect of racial regard on life satisfaction, which is required for mediation analyses, however racial regard was explored as a moderator and found to be non-significant. The measure of racial regard in this study is a statistically and conceptually derived measure as it was based on how factors loaded from an existing measure of multiracial pride and challenges of racial identity. The measure was reliable based on this sample; future studies should evaluate the use of these items as a measure of racial regard in order to assess with racial regard impacts the relationship of racial malleability and psychological well-being. Additionally, racial malleability and perceived stress were moderated by experiences of identity questioning such that increased frequency of having one’s identity questioned enhanced the relationship between racial malleability and perceived stress. Therefore being more malleable and having experiences of identity questioning is related to higher levels of perceived stress. This supports existing research that for multiracial people, identity questioning is a stressful and common event (Jackson, 2012). This finding empirically supports multiracial theory suggesting that others’ perceptions of a multiracial individual’s identity impacts how the individual self-identifies and is related to lower psychological well-being (Sanchez, 2010). The relationship between racial malleability and life satisfaction was not moderated by identity experiences in this study. However, recent research has explored how perceived discrimination might play a role in how multiracial people identify such that feeling connection to being multiracial mediates a positive relationship between perceived discrimination and life satisfaction (Giamo, Schmitt, & Outten, 2012).

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