1.3. Does Ethnic Identity Buffer or Exacerbate the Impact of RSD?

There are two key benefits of examining ethnic identity as a moderator between RSD and health. First, the theoretical and empirical literature has indicated that not all characteristics of ethnic identity are uniformly protective-and in some instances, certain aspects of ethnic identity may actually worsen the negative effects of discrimination [39,40,43,58,59]. Understanding which aspects of identity are protective-and which are not-may be crucial in developing culturally tailored interventions that address discrimination and psychological well-being. Second, ethnic identity has been minimally investigated among YSMBM in general, and in the context of RSD specifically. The very personal and often vulnerable nature of intimate partner-seeking makes RSD a unique racialized stressor. That RSD is defined as an online-specific phenomenon also makes it unique-given that discrimination is typically more brazen, prejudices more overt, and rejection more frequent–in high density, quasi-anonymous settings such as online venues [60,61,62,63,64]. The novel RSD scale used in this study captures a broad scope of these experiences and distinguishes between expressions of discrimination to a greater degree than most measures of discrimination . Its distinction between race of perpetrator (same-race and White perpetration of RSD) is especially useful, as there is a noteworthy deficit of research that accounts for differences between in-group and out-group discrimination in the context of RSD. Examination of same-race perpetration of RSD is rare in general, though we have found that YSMBM report complex attitudes toward same-race perpetration of RSD in previous work .

Given the importance of ethnic identity in the context of race-related stress, the current study aims to examine the ways in which ethnic identity might serve to modify the relationship between RSD and psychological well-being among YSMBM. In accordance with prior theoretical and empirical work, we hypothesized that (Hypothesis 1; H1) higher scores on RSD would be associated with poorer psychological well-being among the study sample; (Hypothesis 2; H2) higher scores on ethnic identity search would exacerbate the association between RSD and well-being; and (Hypothesis 3; H3) higher scores on ethnic identity commitment would attenuate the association between RSD and well-being.

2.1. Participants

Eligibility Criteria. In order to be eligible for the study, participants had to meet the following criteria: quente British mulheres (1) identify as a man; (2) be assigned male sex at birth; (3) identify prierican, or with any other racial/ethnic identity across the African diaspora (e.g., Afro-Caribbean, African, etc.); (4) be between the ages of 18 and 29 inclusive; (5) identify as gay, bisexual, queer, same-gender-loving, or another non-heterosexual identity, or report having had any sexual contact with a man in the last 3 months; (6) report having used a website or mobile app to find male partners for sexual activity in the last 3 months; and (7) reside in the United States.

2.2. Recruitment

A non-probability convenience sample of YSMBM were recruited using best practices for online survey sampling [66,67] between . Participants were primarily recruited through Facebook and Scruff, a mobile app for gay and bisexual men to meet one another for sex or dating. Prospective participants viewed advertisements for the study and clicked on a link embedded in the advertisement that directed them to the study webpage. Advertisements on Facebook were only made viewable to men in the targeted age range who lived in the United States. Facebook ads were further tailored to target individuals who (1) indicated that they were “interested in” men, or who omitted information on the gender in which they were interested; (2) indicated interest in various LGBTQ-related pages on Facebook; (3) matched Facebook’s behavior algorithms for U.S. African American Multicultural Affinity; or (4) indicated interest in various pages related to popular Black culture.