A Longitudinal Study of Traditional vs. Online Racial Discrimination and Adolescent Adjustment

Monday, March 10, 2014

Brendesha Tynes

University of South California

In the early stages of internet proliferation, a number of scholars argued that it could bring about the realization of an electronic global village, where there would be no race, gender, infirmities or the social ills that accompany these physical indicators of difference. Empirical research on adults, however, has consistently proven this to be a myth and recent studies show racial discrimination is one of the most common among adolescent online experiences. This presentation will discuss the design and preliminary results of the first longitudinal study of online racial discrimination and adjustment among adolescents. Specifically, the impact of racial discrimination in online and offline contexts on mental health, behavioral outcomes and academic performance among African American and Latino adolescents will be examined. Multiple regression analyses of Waves I and II from the Teen Life Online and in Schools Project were used to test these relationships among a sample of 10 to 18 year-olds (N=1020). Findings reveal that Time 1 individual online discrimination was associated with an increased risk for depressive symptoms, anxiety and aggressive behavior at Time 2. Time 1 peer discrimination was also associated with increased aggression and lower GPA at Time 2. Findings underscore the need to add online racial discrimination to offline studies.


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