Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis


School for Social Work


The purpose of this study was to identify any relations between African American persons' actual or perceived negative interaction with their racial group and their racial identity. The study worked to answer the question: Is the experience of self-reported negative interactions within the African American community predictive of the level of an individual's racial identity? The hypothesis of this study was that while the existence of these interactions may impact an individual's private regard, it would not impact the centrality of the individual's racial identity. This was a mixed method study using an online survey to gather information from 174 participants. Racial identity was measured using the Centrality and Private Regard scales of the Multidimensional Inventory of Black Identity. All the participants were required to self identify as African American to participate in this study. The age range was 18 to over 50. With 86.2% holding a bachelor's degree or beyond, the data sample was highly educated. While this study did not show a significant group relationship between participants' racial identity as defined by the centrality or private regard dimensions, the individual participant's narrative showed that these negative interactions do have impact. Further study is required to understand the relationship between these negative interactions and identity development of African Americans.


iv, 56 p. Thesis (M.S.W)--Smith College School for Social Work, Northampton, Mass., 2007. Includes bibliographical references (leaves 42-46).