Date of Award


Document Type

Campus Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Clinical Psychology

First Advisor

Lizabeth Roemer

Second Advisor

Karen L. Suyemoto

Third Advisor

Tiffany Donaldson


It is important to determine factors that may exacerbate the negative psychological consequences of perceived racial discrimination (PRD), as well as factors that might buffer their negative impact in a Black American sample. We posited that intolerance of uncertainty may exacerbate the relationship between PRD and racism-related stress, while engaging in meaningful actions (i.e., valued actions) may be an important buffering factor in this relationship for responding effectively to distressing experiences. In Study 1, correlational associations among the variables of interest were explored. One hundred and twenty-two Black American students at a large urban university completed a series of questionnaires. As expected, higher levels of PRD (SREyear) were associated with higher levels of racism-related stress. Intolerance of uncertainty and values consistency did not moderate the relationship between PRD and racism-related stress. In Study 2, the potential causal relationships between variables were explored through an experimental manipulation. Fourteen Black American participants who endorsed in Study 1 that they had experienced racism-related stress in response to experiences of PRD from people in service provider positions in the past year, in addition to other inclusion criteria, participated in this study. Participants were randomly assigned to a values clarification (N= 7) or control condition (N= 7) and were presented with a racism-related stimulus before and after the experimental manipulation. We examined the effects of the values clarification intervention on self-report measures of distress and positive and negative affect. ANCOVA analyses revealed that condition assignment had a marginally significant effect on overall subjective units of distress, F (1, 10) = 4.53, p = .06, effect size = .31, with a large effect size. Medium-sized effects were found on overall positive emotional responses [F (1,11) = .63, p = .45, effect size = .05] and overall negative emotional responses [F (1,11) = .81, p = .39, effect size = .07]. Effects were in the predicted direction for negative affect; however, they were not in the predicted direction for positive affect. If a larger sample size supports the trends revealed in this study, it would provide empirical support for the role of values clarification in buffering the impact of PRD on racism-related stress.


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