Racial Identity Attitudes, Africentrism, Self-Esteem and Psychological Wellbeing in Black Men: A Mixed Methods Study

Prof Doc Thesis

Fontaine, Laura 2013. Racial Identity Attitudes, Africentrism, Self-Esteem and Psychological Wellbeing in Black Men: A Mixed Methods Study. Prof Doc Thesis University of East London School of Psychology https://doi.org/10.15123/PUB.3045
AuthorsFontaine, Laura
TypeProf Doc Thesis

This study adopted a mixed methods approach to provide an understanding of the role
and impact of racial identity attitudes, following the Cross (1971) model of
Nigrescence, on self-esteem and psychological distress in a black men in the UK.
In the quantitative phase, 100 black men from a community sample completed
questionnaires measuring their racial identity attitudes, African self-consciousness
(ASC), self-esteem, and psychological distress. The four participants with the highest
scores on the low racial identity attitudes (preencounter and postencounter) and the four
with the highest scores on the high racial identity attitudes (immersion-emersion and
internalisation) also participated in the qualitative phase. Interpretative
phenomenological analysis (IPA) was used to gain a deeper insight into how racial
identity attitudes impact upon an individual’s subjective lived experience of being
The quantitative findings showed that black men who were less racially developed and
thus endorsed low racial identity attitudes experienced more psychological distress,
lower self-esteem and low levels of ASC. Black males who were more racially
developed and endorsed higher racial identity attitudes reported greater self-esteem.
These findings were differentially related to the four master themes revealed using IPA:
racial identity attitudes, psychological effects of racial identity, internalised racism, and
presentations of self to others.
The combined findings suggest that black males with low racial identity are likely to
hold more negative internalised racist beliefs, devalue and are disconnected from their
own racial group and cultural identity, and experience more psychological problems
such as anger, anxiety and depression. They are also more likely to adopt maladaptive
coping strategies to manage psychosocial stressors and an inability to acculturate. In
contrast, black males with high racial identity were more likely to value their racial-self
and culture and experience greater self-esteem and less psychological distress due to
adopting adaptive coping strategies to manage psychosocial distress, with a better
ability to acculturate.
The relevance of the findings to clinical and counselling practitioners who work with
black men is discussed. Racial identity attitudes play a vital role in their overall
psychological wellbeing and can aid healing when adopted within a clinical framework.

Keywordsracial attitudes; African self-consciousness; interpretative phenomenological analysis
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.15123/PUB.3045
Publication dates
PrintJan 2013
Publication process dates
Deposited08 Jul 2013
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