Sociology, Department of



Published in final edited form as: J Afr Am Stud (New Brunsw). 2012 September 1; 16(3): 406–422. doi:10.1007/s12111-011-9203-0.

Author manuscript published in NIH PubMed Central 2013 January 22;


© Springer Science + Business Media, LLC 2011. Used by permission.


Several theories of stress exposure, including the stress process and the family stress model for economically disadvantaged families, suggest that family processes work similarly across race/ ethnic groups. Much of this research, however, treats African-Americans as a monolithic group and ignores potential differences in family stress processes within race that may emerge across ethnic groups. This study examines whether family stress processes differ intraracially in African- American and Black Caribbean families. Using data from the National Survey of American Life, a national representative data set of African-American and Black Caribbean families, we assess the extent to which parents’ stress appraisals and psychological adjustment are related to their adolescent children’s stress appraisals, psychological adjustment, and depressive symptoms. Our study illustrates that stress processes differ by ethnicity and operate through varying pathways in African-American and Black Caribbean families. The implications of intraracial variations in stress processes are discussed.