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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Stress and coping in interracial contexts: The influence of race-based rejection sensitivity and cross-group friendship in daily experiences of health.

  • Author(s): Page-Gould, Elizabeth
  • Mendoza-Denton, Rodolfo
  • Mendes, Wendy Berry
  • et al.

We examined the interplay of psychosocial risk and protective factors in daily experiences of health. In Study 1, the tendency to anxiously expect rejection from racial outgroup members, termed race-based rejection sensitivity (RS-race), was cross-sectionally related to greater stress-symptoms among Black adults who reported fewer cross-race friends but not among participants who had more cross-race friends. In Study 2, we experimentally manipulated the development of a same- versus cross-race friendship among Latino/a-White dyads prior to collecting daily experiences of stress-symptoms using a diary methodology. While RS-race predicted more psychosomatic symptoms in the same-race friendship condition, RS-race was unrelated to symptomatology among participants who made a cross-race friend. These findings suggest that experiences of intergroup stress can spill over into everyday life in the absence of positive contact, but cross-race friendships may be a resource that mitigates the expression of interracial stress.

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