Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)



First Advisor

Elizabeth Brondolo

Second Advisor

Marlene Sotelo-Dynega

Third Advisor

Allison J Berena


Research has consistently demonstrated that anger is the dominant emotional response following experiences of racial discrimination. Studying anger itself may not be sufficient because anger can be expressed in a variety of ways, therefore it is necessary to examine different forms of anger expression. I hypothesized that social constraint would mediate the relations between discrimination and anger expression. Social constraint in the context of discrimination refers to an individual’s perception that communication about episodes of discrimination will be invalidated or minimized by others (either the same race or other race individuals). Social constraint, in turn, may influence the expression of anger during episodes of discrimination. Multiple mediation analyses tested the degree to which social constraints from members of one’s own group or members of other racial/ethnic groups served as mediators of the relationship of perceived discrimination to anger expression in the context of discriminatory experiences. Participants ranged in age from 18 to 85 (M = 39.27, SD = 12.89) and 103 (67%) were women. Overall, the findings of this study support the hypothesis that social constraints mediate the relationship between perceived racial or ethnic discrimination and anger expression. Specifically, when participants reported experiences of lifetime discrimination, social exclusion, threat or harassment, and stigmatization social constraints from own race mediated anger suppression accounting for between 46% and 60% of the variance. Social constraints from the same race also mediated the relationship between discrimination and outward anger expression. Specifically, when participants reported experiences of lifetime discrimination and social exclusion, social constraints from own race facilitated the use of outward anger expression with variances between 29% and 35%. It is important for school psychologists to recognize the significance of race to their clients, the positive and negative judgments clients make about their race, and their attitudes, opinions, and beliefs about how they should act and their expectations of validation and support from others. Moreover, clinicians will need to be comfortable and conversant in engaging their clients around these topics, especially when encountering such issues in schools. As such, training and skills development in this regard should be ongoing.

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Psychology Commons