Skin color and self-Perceptions of immigrant and U.S.-born Latinas: The moderating role of racial socialization and ethnic identity

Eva H. Telzer, Heidie A.Vazquez Garcia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Research has increasingly identified race as a salient characteristic that affects one's life experiences and psychological well-being. However, little is known about how skin color affects the emotional health of Latinos. The present study examined how skin color relates to the self-perceptions of immigrant (N = 26) and U.S.-born (N = 55) Latina college women. Results indicate that immigrant Latina participants with darker skin tend to have poorer self-perceptions than their U.S.-born peers, including lower self-esteem, lower feelings of attractiveness, and a desire to change their skin color to be lighter. Both racial socialization and ethnic identity served to buffer Latinas from the negative self-perceptions associated with darker skin. These findings suggest that skin color may be a particularly central risk factor for immigrant Latinas' well-being, and racial socialization and ethnic identity may serve as important protective factors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)357-374
Number of pages18
JournalHispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences
Volume31
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1 2009

Keywords

  • Ethnic identity
  • Latino
  • Racial socialization
  • Self-perceptions
  • Skin color

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Cultural Studies
  • Anthropology
  • Linguistics and Language

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