College of Science and Health Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award

Summer 8-21-2022

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Susan McMahon, PhD

Second Advisor

Kathryn Grant, PhD


The effects of stressors during youth and adolescence have long been investigated as powerful experiences affecting adjustment and well-being. Stressful life events predict a range of psychological and physical outcomes, but their impact on adolescent self-perception has yet to be studied thoroughly. Adolescent strengths, such as ethnic identity, may serve as protection from threats and warrant exploration. Using resilience theory (Fergus & Zimmerman, 2005) and a stressor model of adolescent development (Grant et al., 2003), this study examines the influence of ethnic identity in the relationship between youth stressful experiences and different types of self-perception (social competence, behavioral conduct, and global self-worth). Using multiple imputation and multiple linear regressions, this study examines longitudinal data from 140 Black, low-income youth ages 11-14. Results of this study indicate stressful life events are associated with behavioral conduct self-perception and ethnic identity is associated with global self-worth. In addition, individual aspects of ethnic identity, including ethnic identity behavior and other group orientation have unique impacts on self-perception outcomes. Ethnic identity and ethnic identity behavior were protective against the impact of stressful life events on behavioral conduct self-perception. Understanding the specific connections between youth stressors, ethnic identity, and self-perception for Black adolescents can provide insight into research, practice, and policy directions that rely on youth strengths to promote healthy outcomes.

SLP Collection