Selected Publications

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Interdisciplinary Community-Engaged Research for Mental Health: Experiences with the Development and Implementation of the Engaging, Managing, and Bonding through Race intervention.

McKenny, M. & Anderson, R. E. (2020). 

While there is a large body of literature documenting the negative impact of discrimination and racial stress, there was no clinical intervention dedicated to the reduction of racial stress and enhancement of racial coping. Further, our intervention, Engaging, Managing, and Bonding through Race (EMBRace) was developed in 2015 by Drs. Riana Anderson and Howard Stevenson to address this need. The intervention seeks to reduce racial stress by bolstering youth and their caregiver’s racial self-efficacy, defined as one’s perceived ability to effectively resolve racial experiences. Secondly, the program promotes racial coping by teaching participants healthy coping mechanisms that can be used in response to a racialized event. After participating in EMBRace, it is expected that youth and their caregiver can engage in conversations on race, manage the stress that comes from racialized experiences, and bond with one another in the process. This book chapter details the development and implementation of this therapeutic, community-based program. 

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Psychotherapy with Caribbean Women: Examples from USVI, Haiti, and Guyana. 

Nicolas, G., Dudley-Grant, G. R., Maxie-Moreman, A., Liddell-Quintyn, E., Baussan, J., Janac, N., & 

McKenny, M. (2020)

The Caribbean region represents a mosaic of cultures and languages, bound by a common experience of colonization, and marked by distinct histories of freedom and independence. Throughout the various countries that comprise the region, the role and importance of women is clearly recognized, highlighted, and demonstrated. Gender issues and feminist ideals have been and continue to be an area of discourse in all disciplines, including psychology. In this article, we provide an overview of the Caribbean region in order to contextualize the information presented. Next, we highlight three different countries in the region, US Virgin Islands, Haiti, and Guyana, to showcase the characteristics and experiences (i.e., gender role and gender socialization) of women in these respective countries, as well representations of feminist ideals. Lastly, we highlight the integration of Caribbean cultural backgrounds, social/political contexts, and feminist ideals in psychotherapeutic interventions with women in the region with specific recommendations for psychotherapy treatment process and outcomes.

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EMBRace: Developing a Racial Socialization intervention to reduce racial stress and enhance racial coping among Black parents and adolescents. 

Anderson, R. E., McKenny, M., & Stevenson, H. C. (2019)

Researchers have illustrated the deleterious psychological effects that racial discrimination has exerted on Black Americans. The resulting racial stress and trauma (RST) from experiences with discrimination has been linked to negative wellness outcomes and trajectories for Black youth and families. Racial socialization (RS)—defined as the verbal and nonverbal messages that families use to communicate race to their children—can be a cultural strength and has been associated with positive outc omes in Black youth. Furthermore, the Racial Encounter Coping Appraisal and Socialization Theory (RECAST) encourages the frequent and competent use of RS between family members to cope with the negative impact of RST. Guided by RECAST, the purpose of this article is to describe the development of the Engaging, Managing, and Bonding through Race (EMBRace) intervention targeting the RS practices bet ween Black adolescents and families. The authors explore current research on RST, discuss why traditional coping models for stress are inadequate for racially specific stressors, highlight RECAST as a burgeoning racial coping and

socialization model, and describe how RS can be used as a tool to intervene within Black families. This is followed by a detailed description of the development and use of the EMBRace intervention which seeks to reduce RST through RS psychoeducation and practice, stress management, and the promotion of bonding in Black families. This article aims

to serve as an example of a culturally relevant RS intervention for Black families who may benefit from clinical treatment for psychological distress from racially discriminatory encounters.

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What’s Race Got to do with it?: The Contribution of Racial Socialization to Black Adolescent Coping.

Anderson, R. E., Jones, S., Anywio, N., McKenny, M., & Gaylord-Harden, N. (2018)

While youth generally experience stressors from developmental milestones, Black youth also face racialized stressors. Racial socialization has been found to help Black youth cope with racialized stressors, but research has yet to show its contribution to coping beyond general socialization practices. This study examines how racial socialization contributes beyond that of general coping socialization to coping behaviors. Fifty-eight third–eighth-grade (Mage = 11.3, SD = 1.54) youth reported general coping socialization and racial socialization practices and coping behaviors. Results indicate that for engagement coping, racial socialization messages contributed significantly to parent-provided engaged socialization strategies. Implications are considered for the ways in which Black youth experience stress and require culturally specific practices for successful coping with frequently encountered stressors.