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71. Racial Identity as a Moderator of the Association between Body Esteem and Depression among Female African American Adolescents
Body esteem has been implicated as one source of gender differences in depression, notably in Caucasians, yet the association is more mixed in African-Americans. Cultural factors, such as racial identity, may explain these racial differences, yet few studies examine the relationship between body esteem, racial identity, and depression. This study addresses this gap by investigating racial identity as a moderator of the association between body esteem and depression prospectively in female African-American adolescents. Method: Sixty-nine adolescents were recruited as part of a larger longitudinal study on adolescent depression (Project ACE). Participants were assessed for racial identity, body esteem, and depressive symptoms across three times. Data were analyzed using the SPSS Process module. Results: Racial centrality and private regard were significant moderators of the association between body esteem and depression. At low (b=-.90, S.E. =.21, t=-4.13, p<.001) and moderate (b=-.47, S.E. =.19, t=-2.48, p=.02) levels of racial centrality, lower body esteem was associated with more prospective depressive symptoms. However, at moderate (b=-.66, S.E. =.18, t=-3.71, p=.001) and high (b=-.99, S.E. =.23, t=-4.13, p<.001) levels of private regard, lower body esteem was associated with higher levels of prospective depressive symptoms. Discussion: Implications for the identification of adolescents at depression risk are discussed.