Asian American Research Team Projects
Resisting Racism

We continue to be interested in the ways that Asian Americans and other people of color experience racism and the related effects on mental health. Research indicates that racism has a negative impact on both psychological and physical health and well being for racialized minorities, including associations with stress, lower life satisfaction and well-being, depressive and anxious symptoms, and a variety of other negative health and mental health outcomes (e.g. Broman, Mavaddat, & Hsu, 2000; Carter, 2007; Carter & Forsyth, 2009; Chou, Asnaani, and Hoffman, 2012; Deitch et al., 2003; Harrell, Hall, & Taliaferro, 2003; Landrine & Klonoff, 1996; Scurfield & Mackey, 2001). For Asian Americans, specifically, racism is associated with multiple issues, including lower self-esteem, depressive symptoms, anxiety symptoms, interpersonal relationship issues, career problems, and a number of chronic health issues such as poor cardiovascular health, respiratory illness, and chronic pain symptoms (e.g. Gee, Spencer, Chen, & Takeuchi, 2007; V. W. Huynh & Fuligni, 2010; Liang & Fassinger, 2008; Tawa, Suyemoto, & Roemer, 2012).

Individuals experiencing racism enact a range of coping strategies to manage detrimental effects, although there is relatively limited research on coping, and even less on the possible protective effects of empowerment and resistance. To date there has not been any published psychological research that has quantitatively operationalized and measured resistance to racism.

In collaboration with Tahirah Abdullah and her research team, we are in the process of data collection for a new project focused on exploring the impacts of racism and the possible ameliorating effects of behavioral resistance. This project pilots a measure of resistance to racism we constructed using a consensual analytic method. The project aims to examine how experiences of different aspects of racism relate to symptoms of psychological distress, approaches to coping, and the moderating effects of ethnic identity, racialized affinity, and resistance. We are also interested in further developing our understanding of inetersectionality and the ways that experiences of racism may be influenced by gender, sexual orientation, social class, etc. and are including comprehensive measures of demographics in our study.

Meanings of Race and Ethnicity

This online survey study considered laypersons' understandings of the concepts of race and ethnicity. Questions were both open ended (e.g., what does race mean to you?) and theoretically derived Likert-scaled items, aimed at assessing the extent to which participants endorse previously hypothesized understandings of race. We have used content analysis and consensual qualitative method-revised to analyze the open-ended questions.

Although the concepts of race and ethnicity have been articulated and differentiated in the social science literature, there remains little understanding of how the public understands these concepts. The ways in which people understand these concepts may have profound influences on how people understand themselves and how people interact with members of different racial and ethnic groups. This research considers the various ways in which individuals conceptualize race and ethnicity, and the consequences these views have on peoples' understandings of themselves and of others.