*According to a study conducted by psychology researchers at Michigan State University and released publicly earlier this month, African Americans who identify more strongly with their racial identity are generally happier than other Blacks.
The study funded by the National Institute of Mental Health and appearing in the current issue of Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology suggests that “black pride” is mentally beneficial.
It is just the latest in a series of studies suggesting that pride in oneself and one’s race produces positive mental health outcomes.
“This is the first empirical study we know of that shows a relationship between racial identity and happiness,” said Stevie C.Y. Yap, doctoral candidate in psychology at MSU and lead researcher on the project.
Previous research has found a relationship between racial identity and favorable outcomes such as self-esteem, Yap said, but none has made the link with happiness.
The study also explored the reasons behind the connection. Yap said it may be fueled by a sense of belongingness — that is, blacks with a strong sense of racial identity may feel more connected to their racial group, which in turn makes them happy.
This sense of belongingness is especially important for happiness in women, Yap said.
“For men, the potential factors relating identity to happiness is still an open question,” he said.
Yap’s fellow researchers are Isis Settles, MSU associate professor of psychology, and Jennifer Pratt-Hyatt, assistant professor of psychology at Northwest Missouri State University.