How do discrimination and self-esteem control beliefs affect prosociality? An examination among Black and Latinx youth

Publication Type Journal Article
Year of Publication 2020
Authors Tyler, CPGeldhof, GJSettersten, RAFlay, BR
Journal The Journal of Early Adolescence
Date Published 04/2020
ISSN 0272-4316

Black and Latinx youth are situated in a maladaptive discriminatory context in the United States; however, prosociality may be one way that youth can promote their own positive development in the face of these experiences. We examined the longitudinal associations between discrimination and prosociality among 380 Black and Latinx early adolescents (M W6age = 12.38 years, 52% female) and considered race/ethnicity and self-esteem control beliefs as potential moderators to this association. Discrimination predicted higher levels of prosociality among Black youth 6 months later, but not among Latinx youth. Discrimination also predicted higher prosociality among youth with very high self-esteem control beliefs 6 months later, but not among youth with lower levels of self-esteem control beliefs. None of these associations were significant when looking across a 1-year time frame. Our findings support the predictions of self-esteem enhancement theory and highlight the importance of considering how youth’s unique racialized experiences can inform how they respond to discrimination.

DOI 10.1177/0272431620912486