Graduation Year


Document Type

Ed. Specalist



Degree Name

Education Specialist (Ed.S.)

Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Shannon Suldo, Ph.D.

Co-Major Professor

Sarah Keifer, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Kahlila Lawrence, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Robert Dedrick, Ph.D.


online racial discrimination, adolescence, well-being, social media


Exposure to cyberhate has become an increasing trend across social media, with approximately 64% of adolescents reporting that they have seen hate speech (Common Sense, 2018). While social media is used to connect with others via likes, posts, and shares, it also allows for hateful content to spread quickly. Cyberhate is the intentional aggression or threat towards an individual or group based on their societal group association, such as race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, and religion (Wachs et al., 2020). Ethnic-racial minoritized adolescents who experience cyberhate as racial discrimination may be at increased risk of maladaptive psychosocial adjustment (Sellers et al., 2003 & 2006; Umana-Taylor & Updegraff, 2007). Research indicates that adolescents’ ethnic-racial identity development (Yip, 2018) and school connectedness may protect against maladaptive psychosocial adjustment (Karcher, 2003; Osterman, 2000). However, few documented studies analyze how ethnic-racial minoritized adolescents’ cyberhate exposure may relate to their ethnic-racial identity, school connectedness, or life satisfaction. This quantitative study investigated cyberhate focusing on online racial discrimination and its associations with ethnic-racial minoritized high school students’ ethnic-racial identity development, school connectedness, and life satisfaction. A total of 192 high school students, ages 14 to 19, participated. An ANOVA revealed statistically significant differences of cyberhate exposure between minoritized and non-minoritized participants. Students who identified as African American reported the highest cyberhate exposure (M = 2.06, p < .001). Multiple regression findings indicated that ethnic-racial groups significantly predicted ethnic-racial identity perceptions F(8, 161) = 5.40, p <.001, with minoritized groups reporting lower perceptions of ethnic-racial identity compared to their non-minoritized peers. Further, increased frequency exposure to cyberhate predicted low school connectedness F(8, 154) = 2.85, p =.006 and low life satisfaction F(8, 153) = 2.71, p =.008. The results from this study provide implications for educational professionals, community programs, families, and youth to promote positive ethnic-racial identity development and work together to address cyberhate. Future research directions are provided for a more in-depth evaluation of ethnic-racial identity development in more ethnic-racial groups, protective factors against cyberhate experiences, and cultural approaches to centering minoritized voices. Keywords: ethnic-racial identity, cyberhate, racial discrimination, school connectedness, adolescence