Keeping hope alive: Racial-ethnic disparities in distress tolerance are mitigated by religious/spiritual hope among Black Americans

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Abstract

Racial and ethnic minorities, including Blacks/African-Americans and Hispanics/Latinos,indicate lower tolerance to psychological distress (DT) and secular hope yet endorse more religious and spiritual hope than their non-Hispanic White (NHW) counterparts. Whether racial-ethnic minorities derive greater benefit from non-secular hope on the tolerance of psychological distress remains unclear. Self-reported endorsement of religious/spiritual (R/S) hope, secular hope, DT, and a number of other psychosocial, R/S and sociodemographic variables were analyzed from a nationwide survey of persons aged over 18 years (N = 2875) identifying as Black (14.2%), Hispanic (15.4%), or NHW (67.3%) using multiple regression. Overall, higher levels of both R/S and secular hope predicted greater DT. In turn, greater DT was associated with lower psychosomatic distress. Compared to NHW, the ethnic-minority groups reported lower overall levels of DT. An interaction for race-ethnicity further revealed that compared to distress intolerant NHW, Blacks/African-Americans at lower levels of DT report higher R/S and secular hope. Hispanics/Latinos were also higher on R/S and secular hope, but endorsed lower hope at higher levels of DT than the reference group. Although hope is considered a more passive form of coping, it is more frequently endorsed in marginalized ethnic-minority groups. However, compared to NHW, differences do exist in the extent to which R/S hope mitigates DT in Blacks/African-Americans compared to Hispanics/Latinos.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number110403
JournalJournal of Psychosomatic Research
Volume144
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2021

Keywords

  • Distress intolerance
  • Positive psychology
  • Psychosomatic distress
  • Racial-ethnic disparity
  • Religion and spirituality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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