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Psychological Distress among Black and White Americans: Differential Effects of Social Support, Negative Interaction and Personal Control

Karen D. Lincoln, Linda M. Chatters and Robert Joseph Taylor
Journal of Health and Social Behavior
Vol. 44, No. 3, Special Issue: Race, Ethnicity, and Mental Health (Sep., 2003), pp. 390-407
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1519786
Page Count: 18
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Psychological Distress among Black and White Americans: Differential Effects of Social Support, Negative Interaction and Personal Control
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Abstract

This study examines the relationships among social support, negative interaction, financial strain, traumatic events, personal control, personality, and psychological distress among African American and white adults. These analyses: (1) test the overall adequacy of various models (i.e., main, mediator, and artifactual effects) of these effects, (2) examine the role of social support and negative interaction within the context of financial strain and traumatic events, and (3) verify possible indirect effects of social interaction on distress by assessing their impact on personal control. Data from The National Comorbidity Survey were used to examine these relationships using structural equation modeling techniques. Findings indicated different models of these relationships for African Americans and whites. Overall, personal control mediated the relationship between negative interaction and psychological distress. For whites, negative interaction was an overall stronger predictor of distress and contributed to the impact of financial strain and traumatic events on psychological distress. Among African Americans, social support was a stronger predictor of distress. The findings suggest that the underlying models of these relationships are different for African Americans and whites.

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