Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Counselor Education and Counseling Psychology


For almost four hundred years, African Americans have been victims of race-related stress. Race-related stress is defined as the encounters between individuals and their environment that surface from racism and strain an individual's resources or threaten his or her well-being. Despite findings on the negative impact of racism on African Americans' well-being, very little research has focused on the relationships between race-related stress, identity and well-being among African Americans.

The purpose of this study was to explore the relationships between race-related stress, identity, and well-being among African Americans. A total of 196 African American community members and college students participated in this study. Participants' race-related stress was measured by the Index of Race-Related Stress (Utsey, 1999). Identity was measured by the African self-consciousness Scale (Baldwin & Bell, 1985) and the Multigroup Ethnic Identity Measure (Phinney, 1992). Well-being was measured with the World Health Organization Quality of Life Scale (World Health Organization, 1998), the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale (Rosenberg, 1965) and the Satisfaction with Life Scale (Diener, Emmons, Larsen, & Griffin, 1985).

Hierarchical multiple regression analyses and canonical correlation analysis were employed to examine the relationships among demographic variables, race-related stress, ethnic identity, African Self-Consciousness and the three well-being variables of quality of life, self-esteem, and life satisfaction. Age, social class, education, race-related stress and ethnic identity were significant predictors of quality of life. Social class, education and ethnic identity were significant predictors of self-esteem and, along with age, were significant predictors of life satisfaction. Consistently throughout the analyses, social class, education and ethnic identity emerged as significant predictors of well-being for African Americans with higher social class, more education, and a stronger ethnic identity associated with higher quality of life, greater self-esteem and greater life satisfaction. African Self-consciousness was not a significant predictor of the three well-being criterion variables, however, did show a significant positive correlation with ethnic identity. Findings highlight the importance of ethnic identity in the well-being of African Americans.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access