University of New Hampshire
McNair Scholar, 2023
Major: Sociology & Justice Studies
Mentor: Dr. Karen van Gundy
Research Title: An Analysis of Religious Coping Mechanisms Concerning the Black-White Paradox: A Look at Miami-Dade County Young Adults from 1998-2002
The broad issue we are going to be studying is the Black-White paradox in mental health. More specifically, how does religious coping help us understand why the paradox exists. Our goal when doing the secondary data analysis is to see if there is a causational relationship between religious coping and mental health which can be one explanation for the paradox. Many studies have found that African Americans have better mental health than their White non-Hispanic counterparts, despite experiencing stressors to a greater extent. The same research studies also conclude that African Americans participate in religiosity more than Whites, and their mental health is better overall when they use religion as a coping mechanism. This is important to study because this can potentially explain that perhaps the reason why African Americans turn to religion is because they have fewer options for coping resources and at times their only option is to go to church or turn to religion for social support and comfort during hard times. In our research, we are going to be using data from a study conducted on young adults between 18-23 years in Miami-Dade County Florida in the years 1998-2002. Throughout our proposal and analysis, you will notice that we use the terms 'African Americans' and 'Blacks' interchangeably. This is because of both how the data measures race and articles explain their findings on the issue. We expect to find Black young adults being more adversely affected by stressors but having better mental health because of the mediating effects of religious coping. After analyzing and concluding our findings we will provide future implications for further research and policy suggestions for institutions to better support their students through difficulties that are affecting their mental health.