The study, funded by the National Institute of Mental Health, appears in the current issue of Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, a research journal published by the American Psychological Association.
“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.
For the study, the researchers surveyed black adults in Michigan. The results suggest the more the participants identified with being black – or the more being black was an important part of who they are – the more happy they were with life as a whole, Yap said.
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.
The researchers also found that “positive perceptions of African Americans are related to…life satisfaction because it leads them to feel more connect to their racial group.” But oddly, while this was true for black women, it wasn’t for black men.
Takeaway: Your presumably baseless dislike of the Other is warranted, after all. They really be on that Eeyore.