Perceived ethnic discrimination, rumination, and hope: implications for sleep quality in minority and non-minority college students

WCU Author/Contributor (non-WCU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Tari Madane Cox (Creator)
Western Carolina University (WCU )
Web Site:
Kia Asberg

Abstract: There is a vast amount of literature supporting the notion that sleep is vital for the physical and mental health of human beings. Mentally, poor sleep can interfere with cognitive processes and is a risk factor in the development of health problems. Studies exploring racial and ethnic differences in sleep quality suggest that Blacks/African Americans tend to experience poorer sleep (i.e., more sleep disturbance, slow-wave sleep) than their White counterparts, but few studies have examined the mechanism by which minority status (as in the case of Blacks/African Americans) compromises sleep quality. Aside from race and ethnicity, literature states that rumination (i.e., excessive reflecting on life events and stressors) may also influence sleep negatively. Considering this, racially charged events that are increasingly displayed in today’s media have heightened the awareness of unfair treatment based on race and ethnicity. Consequently, Blacks/African Americans (who are prone to discrimination in a variety of societal domains), may experience an additional layer of stress that increases the tendency to ruminate. In contrast, the instillation of hope may decrease rumination, in that a positive outlook and a sense that one’s goals are attainable may overshadow the perception of barriers pertaining to ethnic discrimination. To examine this, data were collected from students attending a Historically Black College/University (HBCU) and a Predominately White Institution (PWI) (N = 295). The aim of the present study was to examine differences in brooding and reflective rumination, perceived ethnic discrimination (PED), hope, stress, and sleep quality in Black/African American and White college students. This study also examined hope as a buffering variable against the negative impact of other study constructs. Independent t-test results indicated that Blacks/African Americans reported worse sleep quality, more disturbed sleep, more brooding rumination, and more overall PED than Whites, which is consistent with the existing literature. In contrast, there were no differences in hope scores between Blacks/African Americans and their White counterparts, and hope was not significant predictor of sleep quality when entered into a regression equation with other study constructs (brooding, reflection, perceived stress, PED, ethnicity, and gender). However, the regression model containing the study constructs found brooding and perceived stress to be predictive of sleep quality, thus suggesting that these constructs are especially pertinent to sleep quality above and beyond other variables. Limitations, implications, and suggestions for future research will be discussed.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2018
College Students, Ethnic Discrimination, Ethnic Minority, Hope, Rumination, Sleep
Sleep -- Health aspects
Stress (Physiology)
Rumination (Psychology)

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