Discrimination and mental health in adult transracial adoptees: Can parents foster preparedness?

In response to the growing trend of White parents adopting children from different racial backgrounds, and heeding the call for more research on adoption-related issues, the present study examined the relationship between perceived racial discrimination and mental health of 206 adult transracial adoptees adopted by White parents. In addition, the study examined adoptive parent racial socialization as a buffering variable in the perceived discrimination—mental health link. We hypothesized that racial discrimination experiences would be related to greater psychological distress and poorer psychological well-being. Furthermore, we expected the relationships between perceived discrimination and mental health outcomes to be weaker for transracial adoptees who reported higher levels of parental racial socialization by their adoptive parents during their youth, but stronger for those reporting lower levels of parental racial socialization. Interestingly, our results showed that racial socialization functioned differently depending on the mental health outcome under investigation. Although, as expected, racial discrimination was positively associated with psychological distress and negatively related to psychological well-being, parental racial socialization only moderated the discrimination—distress link. Limitations and implications for research, practice, and policy are discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved)