Effects of Psychedelic Use on Racial Trauma Symptoms and Ethnic Identity among Asians in North America

There is a need to understand ways in which Asians in North America attempt to heal from racial trauma, given their well-documented high risk of exposure and associated adverse mental health outcomes. We conducted a secondary analysis of Asians from a survey of people of color in North America who have consumed psychedelics in response to racial discrimination. Ninety-two Asian participants (Mage = 30.25, SD = 6.83) completed online questions assessing demographics, racial discrimination frequency, characteristics and acute effects of their most meaningful psychedelic experience, change in racial trauma symptoms 30 days before and after their psychedelic experience, and current ethnic identity. Participants reported improvements in racial trauma symptoms (d = 0.52). Bootstrapped mediation analyses controlling for racial discrimination frequency and psychedelic dose and duration indicated complete mediation of the link between higher intensity of insightful experiences and stronger ethnic identity, via improvements in racial trauma symptoms (indirect effect = .08, 95% CI = [.004, .19]). There was partial mediation for the independent variable of lower intensity of challenging experiences (indirect effect = −.08, 95% CI = [−.18, −.005]). This study highlights the central role of higher-intensity insightful experiences and both higher- and lower-intensity challenging experiences in alleviating racial trauma symptoms and promoting ethnic identity among Asians in North America who have experienced racial discrimination. Future research should attune to culturally relevant outcomes of psychedelic use in response to racial discrimination among Asians.

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