An examination of acculturation, racial identity, perceived discrimination and mental health outcomes among Africans and Afro-Caribbeans in the United States



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In the realm of multicultural psychology, focusing on within-group differences facilitates to a deeper understanding of cultural constructs (Bernal, Cumba-Avilés, & Rodriguez-Quintana, 2014). Despite expanded research on acculturation, racial identity, and perceived discrimination on mental health outcomes among various racial and ethnic minority groups, the theoretical and empirical literature focusing on Black immigrants (i.e., Afro-Caribbeans, recent Africans, and their descendants) is scant. This study examined a conceptual model that describes the relationships among acculturation, enculturation, racial centrality, perceived discrimination, and mental health outcomes (specifically, anxiety and depression) among Africans and Afro-Caribbeans in the United States. Two hundred African and Afro-Caribbean adults across 25 states and territories in the United States participated in this study. Using Qualitrics, an online enterprise data collection and survey software, participants completed informed consent forms, a demographic questionnaire, the Measurement of Acculturation Strategies for People of African Descent (MASPAD), the Racial Centrality subscale of the Multidimensional Inventory of Black Identity (MIBI), the Perceived Discrimination Scale (PDS), and the Anxiety and Depression subscales of the Mental Health Inventory (MHI). A path analysis was employed to test the fit of the hypothesized model to the data using three widely used fit indices –comparative fit index (CFI), standardized root-mean-square residual (SRMR), and root-mean-square error of approximation (RMSEA). Two (CFI and SRMR) out of the three fit indices suggested adequate to good model fit. The hypothesized path model proposed that acculturation and enculturation would directly affect anxiety and depression, and that racial identity and perceived discrimination would explain the relationship between these cultural adaptation and mental health outcomes variables. Path coefficients were examined for significance to address the hypotheses. All paths in the model were significant accept direct paths from acculturation and enculturation to anxiety and depression. Overall, acculturation and enculturation had significant effects on anxiety and depression, only indirectly through racial centrality and perceived discrimination. Implications for findings are discussed.