Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation

8-2018

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph. D.

Department

Counseling and Human Development

Degree Program

Counseling and Personnel Services, PhD

Committee Chair

Possel, Patrick

Committee Member

McCubbin, Laurie

Committee Member

Snyder, Kate

Committee Member

Shlehter, Theodore

Author's Keywords

discrimination; resilience; commitment; depression; college students; stress

Abstract

In the current study, perceived daily discrimination (PDD) is conceptualized as a chronic stressor which repeatedly activates a stress response and results in depressive symptoms, per the theory of allostatic load. Psychological hardiness is explored as a potential moderator of the relation between PDD and depressive symptoms, because individuals who repeatedly demonstrate hardiness may be primed for making cognitive reappraisals of potential stressors and/or for mobilizing appropriate coping strategies, thus limiting the body’s repeated stress responses and subsequent depressive symptoms. This cross-sectional survey of a diverse sample of 305 community college students included measures of hardiness (Dispositional Resilience Scale, DRS-15; Bartone, 1995), PDD (Everyday Discrimination Scale, EDS; Clark, Coleman, & Novak, 2004; Forman, Williams, & Jackson, 1997), and depressive symptoms (Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale, CES-D; Radloff, 1977). Per preliminary confirmatory factor analyses, two factors of PDD (i.e., overt and covert discrimination) and three factors of hardiness (i.e., commitment, control, and challenge) were identified and used for subsequent analyses. A moderated hierarchical multiple regression model with hardiness moderating the relation between PDD and depressive symptoms was significant (p < .01) and accounted for 41.6% of the variance in depressive symptoms. Gender, overt PDD, and the commitment factor of hardiness were significant predictors of depressive symptoms (p < .01), and the interaction between overt PDD and commitment was significant as well (p < .05). Hypothesized polynomial relations between study variables were nonsignificant. Simple slopes analysis of the interaction effect revealed that individuals exhibiting high commitment had depressive symptoms approximately ten points lower than did individuals with low commitment when experiencing the same level of PDD. Relations between study variables were largely as hypothesized and add to the existing literature by confirming the strengths of these associations across targeted identities for PDD. Although limitations of the study include the cross-sectional design and some potential threats to validity, the results provide initial support for building commitment (e.g., rallying social support, engaging in values-consistent behaviors) as a potential prevention and intervention strategy when working with individuals at risk of or currently experiencing PDD and associated depressive symptoms.

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