, Volume 10, Issue 9, pp 1768–1778 | Cite as

Past Discrimination, Race-Related Vigilance, and Depressive Symptoms: the Moderating Role of Mindfulness

  • Natalie N. Watson-SingletonEmail author
  • LaBarron K. Hill
  • Andrew D. Case



African Americans experience numerous adverse health consequences due to race-related stress. Yet, mindfulness may serve as a relevant and vital protective factor in the link between race-related stressors and depressive symptoms for this population.


Data from 190 African American participants, ages 18–53, were used to investigate if past discrimination and race-related vigilance, two types of race-related stressors, interactively predicted greater depressive symptomatology among this sample. We also assessed if mindfulness moderated the association between race-related stressors, as indicated by past discrimination and race-related vigilance, and depressive symptomatology.


Our results indicated that past discrimination and race-related vigilance did not interactively predict depressive symptomatology in our sample; however, these stressors were independently related to greater depressive symptoms. Additionally, we found that greater levels of mindfulness were associated with lower levels of depressive symptoms, and mindfulness significantly moderated the association between both race-related stressors and depressive symptoms.


These findings support mindfulness’ ability to buffer the negative health consequences of past discrimination and race-related vigilance for African Americans. Additional conclusions and future research directions are discussed.


Race-related stress Discrimination Vigilance Mindfulness African Americans 



LaBarron K. Hill was supported by funding from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (#HL121708).

Author Contributions

NNWS: Collaborated on study conceptualization and wrote the paper. LKH: Helped with study design, assisted with the data analyses, wrote the Results, created tables and figures, and helped with editing of the final manuscript. ADC: Collected data, collaborated on data analysis, wrote the Methods section, and collaborated in editing the final manuscript.


This study was supported by a Grant-in-Aid, Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues awarded to Andrew D. Case; LaBarron K. Hill was supported by funding from the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute (#121708) during the writing of this manuscript.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. The study was approved by the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologySpelman CollegeAtlantaUSA
  2. 2.Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral SciencesDuke University Medical CenterDurhamUSA
  3. 3.Center for Biobehavioral Health Disparities ResearchDuke UniversityDurhamUSA
  4. 4.Department of Psychological ScienceUniversity of North Carolina at CharlotteCharlotteUSA

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