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Meet an AJO Researcher: Elan C. Hope

August 30, 2021

Meet Elan C. Hope, Ph.D.—Associate Professor of Psychology at North Carolina State University and lead author of the AJO article “Black adolescents’ anticipatory stress responses to multilevel racism: The role of racial identity.” 

Elan’s research utilizes an assets-based approach to explore factors that promote academic, civic, and psychological well-being for racially marginalized adolescents and emerging adults.

We asked Elan several questions about her study in AJO and other research she is currently working on.

Please list 3 key takeaways from your recent AJO publication:

Elan: (1) Racism happens through individuals, institutions, and culture; and anticipating future racism (at each level) is stressful for Black youth; (2) Beliefs that others view Black people positively weakens the effect of racism between individuals (e.g., microaggression, discrimination) on how much Black adolescents worry and rumination about racism; and (3) A strong sense of pride in being Black reduces the effect of how racism from institutions on physiological stress responses to racism (like sweaty palms, or racing heart) for Black adolescents

What are the policy implications of this research?

Elan: For organizations and communities that work with and aim to support Black youth, our findings suggest that policies must address the structural nature of racism, along with racism in interpersonal interactions. Black adolescents have varying stress responses to racism at each level and racial identity can only go so far toward reducing the stress that comes from experiencing racism.

What are you working on now?

Elan: I am researching how activism can be a source of coping and empowerment to reduce the negative health implications of racism for Black adolescents and young adults.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

Elan: Racism undermines the health and wellbeing of people from racially marginalized communities through interpersonal interactions, institutional policies, and cultural norms. While it is important to understand how individuals resist and thrive, structural changes are needed to move the needle on the negative effects of racism on individual and community health. 

To learn more about Elan and her work, visit her website and follow her on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Our Meet an AJO Researcher series spotlights recent research published in the American Journal of Orthopsychiatry and the researchers behind this work.

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