Hope Above Racial Discrimination and Social Support in Accounting for Positive and Negative Psychological Adjustment in African American Adults: Is “Knowing You Can Do It” as Important as “Knowing How You Can”?

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In the present study, we examined the role of racial discrimination, social support (viz., family and friends), and hope (viz., agency and pathways) in accounting for negative psychological adjustment (viz., anxious and depressive symptoms) and positive psychological adjustment (viz., vitality and life satisfaction) in a sample of 249 African Americans. Overall, results of conducting a series of hierarchical regression analyses provided some evidence for the role of racial discrimination and social support in accounting for both negative and positive psychological adjustment. Noteworthy, the inclusion of hope was found to significantly augment the prediction models of psychological adjustment. Within the hope set, agency was consistently found to uniquely account for adjustment. In contrast, pathways was only found to uniquely account for vitality. Beyond affirming the importance of racial discrimination and social support, the present findings highlight the added value of considering hope, especially agency, in understanding positive and negative psychological adjustment in African Americans. Implications of the present findings for understanding the role of racial discrimination, social support, and hope in the psychological adjustment of African American adults are discussed.