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Daily Variation in Mood and Identity Salience among Black College Students

Kelly Brakke, Autumn Black, Hòa Nguyễn, Tabbye M. Chavous, PhD
Center for the Study of Black Youth in Context, University of Michigan – Ann Arbor
UROP Spring Research Symposium, University of Michigan
April 19, 2017

When entering a new and diverse college environment, students’ identities can be made salient in ways that significantly impact their emotional states. Experimental research have shown that the importance that young Black adults placed on their race (racial centrality) affected their emotions in the context of potential discriminatory events. Their results suggest that individual-level factors such as identity importance can affect people’s emotions about their experiences. Less research considers identity importance in individuals’ daily contexts. The present descriptive study is part of a larger study and focuses on 7 Black women college students attending a Predominantly White Institution (PWI). The study expands upon prior research by examining how individual differences in Black women’s demographic backgrounds and the importance they place on their racial and gender identities (salience) relate to variation in their emotional responses to their college academic environment. We found daily gender and racial identity salience tended to positively covary with emotions of anger and tenseness within our Black women sample.  Some students from neighborhoods with lower percentages of Black people tended to feel neutral or express higher ratings of happiness and self-assurance. Those entering college with higher racial centrality (from initial time 1 survey) tended to endorse higher ratings of identity salience and tended to show more emotional variance.  We suggest that future research with larger sample sizes could allow for more in-depth data analysis and hypothesis testing to extend the current findings.