Socioeconomic Status as a Moderator of Racial/Ethnic Discrimination Stress and Coping

Charles Houston Ray, Fordham University


Racial discrimination has been associated with worse health outcomes (Pascoe & Richman, 2009). Likewise, subjective Socioeconomic Status (SES) has also been linked to health disparities (Cohen, Doyle, & Baum, 2006). While there is a substantiated relationship between subjective SES and race/ethnicity (Kwate & Goodman, 2015), their combined impact i s not well understood. This study attempts to provide more evidence for an intersectional theory by examining the relationship of subjective SES as a moderating factor for negative outcomes of racial/ethnic discrimination. Participants completed both pre- and post-surveys as well as a lab procedure. The lab procedure allowed us to capture the impact of imagined racial/ethnic discrimination on both their working memory, a measure related to academic outcomes and long-term impulsivity (Khurana et al., 2012), and their executive functioning, a measure related to goal achievement and weight status (Gettens, & Gorin, 2017). The surveys allowed us to understand their use of high-effort active coping skills, which have been related to cardiovascular outcomes (James, Hartnett, & Kalsbeek, 1983). A repeated measures (RM) analysis of variance (ANOVA) was performed for accuracy on a working memory task, the n-back, in which we found a significant interaction (p=.013) between race/ethnicity and subjective SES. To account for the interaction, we ran RM ANOVA’s with the main effects to determine their impact and found that the main effect of race/ethnicity was significant (p=0.001), but not subjective SES (p=0.484). For executive functioning we ran a linear regression with interaction terms for race/ethnicity and subjective SES, we found a significant difference for Asian/Asian American (p=.002) and Hispanic (p=.003) participants and that these results were still significant when looking at the moderation of subjective socioeconomic status (Asian or Asian American, p=.013, Hispanic p=.004), when compared to the white control group. Finally, for active coping skills we ran another linear regression including interaction terms for race/ethnicity and subjective SES, here we see a significant main effect for subjective SES (p=.048), but no significant effects for race/ethnicity or moderation. These results are important as it helps better inform us of the impact that subjective SES can have on disparities experienced by individuals as a result of discrimination.

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Recommended Citation

Ray, Charles Houston, "Socioeconomic Status as a Moderator of Racial/Ethnic Discrimination Stress and Coping" (2018). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI10813739.