Ph.D. Candidate Patricia Louie has published an article in the Journal of Society and Mental Health, entitled “Revisiting the Cost of Skin Color: Discrimination, Mastery, and Mental Health among Black Adolescents.” This study aims to investigate whether there are significant associations between skin tone and depression in a population of black adolescents. In particular, Louie tests the hypothesis that black Americans with very light skin tone have better mental health than their peers with darker skin tone.
Patricia Louie’s research investigates racial disparities in mental and physical health. She is interested in how societal conditions produce racial inequities in population health. She currently holds a Joseph-Armand Bombardier Doctoral Scholarship for her comparative research on race, discrimination, and mental/physical health.
We have posted the citation and the abstract of the article below. The full text is available here.
This article investigates the association between skin tone and mental health in a nationally representative sample of black adolescents. The mediating influences of discrimination and mastery in the skin tone–mental health relationship also are considered. Findings indicate that black adolescents with the darkest skin tone have higher levels of depressive symptoms than their lighter skin tone peers. This is not the case for mental disorder. For disorder, a skin tone difference appeared only between black adolescents with very dark skin tone and black adolescents with medium brown skin tone. Discrimination partially mediates the association between skin tone and depression, while mastery fully mediates this association, indicating that the impact of skin tone on depression operates primarily through lower mastery. Similar patterns were observed for disorder. By extending the discussion of skin tone and health to black adolescents and treating skin tone as a set of categories rather than a linear gradient, I provide new insights into the patterning of skin tone and depression/disorder.