Discrimination Coping Strategies Scale

Discrimination Coping Strategies Scale (DCSS)

The Discrimination Coping Strategies Scale (DCSS) was developed by Umaña-Taylor based on Phinney’s and Chavira’s (1995) qualitative work in which they interviewed a sample (n = 60) of adolescents (ages 16 to 18) from diverse ethnic minority backgrounds. Phinney and Chavira’s results indicated that adolescents used five different strategies to deal with discrimination. Based on their responses to the strategies they used, Phinney and Chavira further classified adolescents as belonging to one of three different styles for coping with prejudice and discrimination. Adolescents in the Proactive coping style reported Discuss, Self-affirmation, and Disprove as the ways to deal with such issues. Adolescents were classified as using Passive coping style if they only mentioned Ignore as a way of dealing with discrimination. Adolescents in the Aggressive coping style mentioned the use of Verbal Retort, without mentioning the use of any proactive strategy. Umaña-Taylor created Likert-type scale items to quantitatively assess the experiences described in Phinney and Chavira’s study. The first published study that used this measure is Umaña-Taylor, Vargas-Chanes et al. (2008).

The DCSS, a 6-item scale (dealbest, dealtalk, deaproud, dlwrkhrd, dealrude, dlignore), assesses two different aspects of coping strategies: (a) adolescents’ perception of what they believe is the best coping strategy against discrimination or negative remarks about one’s ethnic or racial background was, and (b) how often adolescents have used specific discrimination coping strategies.  Adolescents’ perception of the best way to deal with discrimination is assessed by asking adolescents to select from five different coping strategies (e.g., “Talking to the person and clarify common misconceptions about ethnic groups” and “Work hard to prove them wrong”) the best way they felt one should deal with issues of discrimination. To assess the frequency by which adolescents have engaged in different types of coping strategies, adolescents are asked to record how often, on a 5-point Likert-type scale (1 = never, 3 = sometimes, and 5 = very often), they have used each coping strategy when they experienced discrimination.

Ethnic-Racial Groups Assessed

The DCSS has been used with Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI), American Indian or Native American, Black, Latinx, Non-White Multi-ethnic, and American Arab, Middle Eastern, and North African (AMENA) adolescent populations in the U.S.

How to Cite This Measure

Umaña-Taylor, A. J., Vargas-Chanes, D., Garcia, C. D., & Gonzales-Backen, M. (2008). A longitudinal examination of Latino adolescents’ ethnic identity, coping with discrimination, and self-esteem. Journal of Early Adolescence, 28, 16-50. doi:10.1177/0272431607308666

Additional Citations for Studies in which the Measure Has Been Used

Jones, S. M., Umaña-Taylor, A. J., McDermott, E. R., Sladek, M.R., & Rivas-Drake, D. (2020). The moderating role of ethnic-racial identity for the association between discrimination, coping, and adjustment among adolescents of color. [Unpublished manuscript]. Harvard Graduate School of Education.

McDermott, E. R., Umaña-Taylor, A. J., & Martinez-Fuentes, S. (2018). Family ethnic socialization predicts better academic outcomes via proactive coping with discrimination and increased self-efficacy. Journal of Adolescence, 65, 189-195. doi:10.1016/j.adolescence.2018.03.011

McDermott, E. R., Umaña-Taylor, A. J., & Martinez-Fuentes, S. (2019). Measuring Latino adolescents’ coping with ethnic-racial discrimination. Journal of Psychoeducational Assessment, 37(6), 730-742. doi:10.1177/0734282918792384

McDermott, E. R., Umaña-Taylor, A. J., & Zeiders, K. H. (2019). Profiles of coping with ethnic-racial discrimination and Latina/o adolescents’ adjustment. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 48(5), 908-923. doi:10.1007/s10964-018-0958-7

Montoro, J., Kilday, J., Rivas-Drake, D., Ryan, A., & Umaña-Taylor, A. J. (in press). Coping with discrimination from peers and adults: Implications for adolescents’ school belonging. Journal of Youth and Adolescence. doi:10.1007/s10964-020-01360-5

Using DCSS

All researchers have permission to use the 6-item DCSS, with the following citation:

Umaña-Taylor, A. J., Vargas-Chanes, D., Garcia, C. D., & Gonzales-Backen, M. (2008). A longitudinal examination of Latino adolescents’ ethnic identity, coping with discrimination, and self-esteem. Journal of Early Adolescence, 28, 16-50. doi:10.1177/0272431607308666

To download the DCSS in English, click here.

 

If you are planning to translate the DCSS into other languages, please send the final version of the measure and any information on how the measure held up in analyses to Adriana Umaña-Taylor.

 

References

Phinney, J. S., & Chavira, V. (1995). Parental ethnic socialization and adolescent coping with problems related to ethnicity. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 5, 31-53