Senior Honors Projects, 2020-current

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Date of Graduation




Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (BS)


Department of Psychology


Benjamin T. Blankenship

Pamela R. Gibson

Talé Mitchell


Colorism is discrimination against individuals with darker skin, with preference afforded to those with lighter skin (Hunter, 2007). To study colorism, researchers have looked at concepts that colorism influences, such as skin color satisfaction, internalized racism, and self-esteem (Coard et al., 2001; Maxwell et al., 2015). The current study determined if internalized racism acts as a mediator between skin color satisfaction and self-esteem in Black participants since internalized racism influences both (David et al., 2019; Maxwell et al., 2015). I also determined if skin color acts as a moderator, explaining differences in the effect of skin color satisfaction on internalized racism, based on the darkness of Black participants’ skin tones. Three hundred and twenty-six participants were recruited from Amazon Mechanical Turk (MTurk) to complete an online survey through Qualtrics. Data were collected through four variables: Internalized Racial Oppression Scale, Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale, Scale of Skin Color Darkness, and Skin Color Satisfaction Scale. A demographic questionnaire was also given. Moderated mediation analysis was performed, using regression-based techniques with Hayes' PROCESS Macro for IBM’s SPSS software (model 8; Hayes, 2017). Black participants with higher skin color satisfaction were associated with higher general self-esteem, which was explained by participants’ lowered internalized racism. Additionally, there was evidence that participants with darker skin colors were more affected by internalized racism as a mediator between skin color satisfaction and self-esteem.



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