226665 Gold diggers and video vixens: Modern jezebel stereotype and substance use among urban African American girls

Monday, November 8, 2010 : 4:50 PM - 5:10 PM

Scyatta A. Wallace, PhD , Department of Psychology, St. John's University, Jamaica, NY
Tiffany G. Townsend, PhD , Department of Psychiatry, Georgetown University Medical School, Washington DC
Y. Marcia Glasgow, MPH , Department of Psychology, St. John's University, Jamaica, NY
Mary Jane Ojie, MA , Department of Psychology, St. John's University, Jamaica, NY
Background: Often studies of African American women and girls will focus on one area in isolation of the other (e.g., race vs. gender). Intersectionality, as it is often termed, seeks to examine the ways in which these categories interact on multiple levels. Objective: This study expands the discourse regarding intersectionality with an attempt to empirically measure the influence of stereotypes and negative images that stem from intersecting systems of sexism and racism. Specifically, we examined the relationship of negative stereotypes and endorsement of Western standards of beauty (i.e., Colorism) on the substance use behavior of low income urban African American girls. Racial socialization has been identified as a protective factor in previous research with African American youth. Therefore, we also sought to examine if parental racial socialization messages moderated those relationships. Methods: Two hundred and seventy two African American girls ( mean age = 13.02 years) completed a baseline survey as part of a larger intervention study. Results: Results indicated that some girls identified with negative stereotypes and endorsed Colorism. Girls who accepted an African American standard of beauty reported lower levels of substance use compared to girls who endorsed Colorism. Our study also found that parental racial socialization messages buffered the negative relationship of Colorism to substance use behavior but only for a certain subset of girls. Conclusion: These findings have important implications for the development of culturally tailored interventions designed to prevent substance use among urban African American girls.

Learning Areas:
Diversity and culture
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
1. Identify how Western standards of beauty shape influence the self-concept of urban African American girls. 2. Discuss how stereotypes influence substance use among urban African American girls.

Keywords: Adolescent Health, Culture

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I conduct research on substance use and urban African American youth populations.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.