RacialEthnic Identity, Religious Commitment, and Well-Being in African Americans (2)

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RacialEthnic Identity, Religious Commitment, and Well-Being in African Americans (2)

Racial/Ethnic Identity, Religious Commitment, and Well-Being in African Americans






Racial/Ethnic Identity, Religious Commitment, and Well-Being in African Americans

In recent years, positive psychology linked to an empirical examination of constructs has dramatically expanded. It has shifted the focus from problematic character to assessing strengths and virtues that facilitate the best ideal of human functionality and flourish. Constructs such as mindfulness, the meaning of life, forgiveness, subjective well-being, and optimism all play a significant role in African Americans’ racial/ethnic identity, religion, and well-being. This paper looks to re-examine and summarize the evidence on the relationship between racial identity, religious commitment, and psychological well-being.

Over the years, there has been criticism in the positive psychology levels of multicultural awareness because of the absence of study considering the cultural factors paramount to human virtue and optimal functioning. According to Ajibade et al. (2016), something like forgiveness as a positive psychology constructs has been researched based on White Americans’ perspective, with little to no emphasis being put on certain understandings and definitions on culture. The lack of racial/ethnic diversity in the research samples presents the second critique of the positive psychology movement. As such, the vast majority of the research conducted was only conclusive based on white participants, with few pieces of research exploring positive psychology constructs, more especially, on African Americans. Additionally, few studies have tried to draw some relationships by comparing positive psychological constructs in a cross-cultural manner. However, there is relatively small literature concerning these specific cultural groups’ constructs. The gap is somewhat significant to focus on, based on the fact that optimal functioning understanding not to mention relative ordering of values, is one way that cultures vary.

To address the need, it is vitally important to elaborate on the elements that may lead to optimal functioning in African Americans. Varied cultural values among African Americans may heighten their human functioning relative to white people. Such values include family, community, ethnic pride, religion, collectivism, the interconnectedness of mind, racial, among others. Additionally, facing discrimination may bring about some extraordinary strengths to black folks compared to their white counterparts. Often includes bicultural flexibility, nonverbal understanding, heightened perceptual wisdom, and contextual meanings. According to the article, racial identity is strongly associated with welfare and prosperity. Racial/ ethnic identity means taking part, dedication, and social integration into the cultural practices and traditions of your racial/ethnic group, and holding the right thoughts and attitude about your racial/ethnic group. Ajibade et al. (2016) maintain that when people actively embrace their racial/ethnic identity, it greatly helps to buffer against the racism harmful effects, at the same time, encouraging the creation of a sense of worthiness, and psychological well-being. People who often display heightened racial/ethnic identity have low psychological distress, and usually, their mental health is better than those with a weak racial/ethnic identity.

Religiosity is one of the key mechanisms for African Americans concerning why racial/ethnic identity is strongly linked to psychological well-being. Religiosity is viewed as sticking and following the prescribed beliefs and ceremonial procedures tied to worshipping God or a panoply of diety. Many kinds of research conducted before also concluded that religiosity plays a great role concerning psychological well-being. Although the three (religiosity, psychological well-being, and racial/ethnic identity) have been strongly associated with each other, there is also room to give light a more precise knowledge of how these constructs often relate with one another. In their argument, Ajibade et al. (2016) stated that people of color portraying a heightened sense of racial/ethnic identity stand a higher chance of becoming more socially embedded with other having the same essence. The article further suggest that a massive 89% of people of color are religious, 78% go to church, and 90% get involved in religious vows such as praying, meditation, among others.

The article further gives insight on different measures of religiosity, at the same time, taking great cautiousness at looking at how racial/ethnic identity can influence religious commitment. Religious commitment means the magnitude to which an individual stick to religious doctrines and practices and reference their in their day-to-day lives. Ajibade et al. (2016), put forward that religious commitment gives a significant background for strengthening racial/ethnic identity among people of color. Firstly, people’s ideas and values are always involved on matters relating to beliefs about God. Secondly, consensual validation of views is cemented by strong religious communities. On such, increasing religious commitment among African Americans may serve as a weakling to the prominence of alternative narratives of the dominating culture. Thirdly, varied personal and social characters are influenced by religious communities in alignment with these beliefs, and adhering one’s understanding of moral principles is theorized to encourage meaning and psychological well-being. Ajibade et al. (2016) cement the idea by stating that religiosity positively correlates with the behavior of sharing or rather helping not to mention the satisfaction level felt following the helping act. It was based on research conducted on 140 African American adults. Additionally, religious groups provides a framework for people committed to the same values to assemble, and share their encounters, and can receive help and validation from others holding the same worldview.

To summarize, the research would be more interesting if the researchers could put much emphasis on how some atheist African Americans thinks about religiosity, racial/ethnic identity and psychological well-being. The study only focused on fact-finding on religious individuals than all individuals, both spiritual and non-religious. In my view, I do not need religion to have a stronger racial/ethnic uplift. My psychology well-being is dependent on the thing I value in life.


Ajibade, A., Hook, J. N., Utsey, S. O., Davis, D. E., & Van Tongeren, D. R. (2016). Racial/ethnic identity, religious commitment, and well-being in African Americans. Journal of Black Psychology, 42(3), 244-258.

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