Date of Award

Spring 2020

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Clinical Psychology

First Advisor

Torres, Lucas

Second Advisor

Howard, Simon

Third Advisor

de St. Aubin, Ed.


Rates of major depressive disorder are consistently twice as high for women of color compared to men across racial/ethnic groups. Some researchers posit that these doubled rates are due to increased life stress, such as ethnic discrimination and sexism. The current study explored the ability of ethnic and sexist discrimination to predict depression among women of color. The current study also sought to better understand underlying cognitive mechanisms, namely hopelessness and self-silencing beliefs, that explain the relationship between discrimination and depression symptoms among women of color. Furthermore, scholars suggest a call to research protective factors that buffer the relationship between discrimination and poor mental health outcomes. Aims were tested among a sample of college women of color recruited from a predominantly White university and a sample of Latinx women recruited from the community. The first aim supported that ethnic discrimination was a stronger predictor of depression for college women of color, whereas sexist discrimination was a stronger predictor of depression for Latinx women. The second and third aims tested a moderated mediational model where hopelessness and self-silencing beliefs were tested as mediators between discrimination and depression. Moreover, general self-efficacy among college women of color and family pillar beliefs among Latinx women were explored as protective factors between the link of discrimination and cognitive vulnerabilities. The second and third aims were not supported. Theoretical and practical implications were discussed.

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