Yara Mekawi, PhD

Yara Mekawi, COLOR Lab, Challenging Ongoing Legacies of Racism, Yara University of Louisville, Mekawi University of Louisville, COLOR LAB Louisville



Dr. Yara Mekawi is an assistant professor in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences and head of the Challenging Ongoing Legacies of Racism (COLOR) Lab. In the COLOR Lab, we aim to challenge ongoing legacies of racism both directly (e.g., understanding and changing racist attitudes and behavior) as well as indirectly (e.g., challenging dominant models of psychopathology that have historically excluded racially marginalized groups). Specifically, we examine racial discrimination and racial prejudice at the intersection of affect and cognition. Using interdisciplinary and multi-method approaches, we focus on three overarching lines of inquiry: 
(a) How does racial discrimination lead to negative mental health outcomes for racially marginalized groups (e.g., cognitive and affective mechanisms)? What factors either ameliorate or exacerbate these processes? 

(b) What are the cognitive and affective factors that maintain racially prejudiced behavior and attitudes among individuals from racially privileged groups? and 

(c) What are the most effective strategies to reduce racial prejudice and ameliorate its effects on the mental health of individuals from racially marginalized groups?


2021   Postdoctoral Fellow, Emory University School of Medicine

2019   PhD, Clinical and Community Psychology,  University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

2018   Doctoral Internship in Health Service Psychology, Emory University School of Medicine

2014   MA, Clinical and Community Psychology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

2010   BA, Applied Psychology, University of Illinois at Chicago  

SELECT PUBLICATIONS (For full list, see: ResearchGate)
Racism & Mental Health
  • Mekawi, Y., Carter, S., Packard, G., Wallace, S., Michopoulos, V., & Powers, A. (2021). When (passive) acceptance hurts: Race-based coping moderates the association between racial discrimination and mental health outcomes among Black Americans. Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy. https://doi.org/10.1037/tra0001077
  • Mekawi, Y., Carter, S., Brown, B., Martinez de Andino, A., Fani, N., Michopoulos, V., & Powers, A. (2021). Interpersonal trauma and posttraumatic stress disorder among Black Women: Does racial discrimination matter? Journal of Trauma & Dissociation22(2), 154–169. https://doi.org/10.1080/15299732.2020.1869098
  • Mekawi, Y., Hyatt, C. S., Maples-Keller, J., Carter, S., Michopoulos, V., & Powers, A. (2021). Racial discrimination predicts mental health outcomes beyond the role of personality traits in a community sample of African Americans. Clinical Psychological Science, 2167702620957318. https://doi.org/10.1177/2167702620957318
  • Mekawi, Y., Watson-Singleton, N. N., Kuzyk, E., Dixon, H. D., Carter, S., Bradley-Davino, B., Fani, N., Michopoulos, V., & Powers, A. (2020). Racial discrimination and posttraumatic stress: Examining emotion dysregulation as a mediator in an African American community sample. European Journal of Psychotraumatology11(1), 1824398. https://doi.org/10.1080/20008198.2020.1824398
Perpetration of Racism

  • Mekawi, Y., & Todd, N. R. (2021). Focusing the lens to see more clearly: Overcoming definitional challenges and identifying new directions in racial microaggression research. Perspectives on Psychological Science16(5), 972–990. https://doi.org/10.1177/1745691621995181
  • Mekawi, Y., Todd, N. R., Yi, J., & Blevins, E. J. (2020). Distinguishing “I don’t see color” from “Racism is a thing of the past”: Psychological correlates of avoiding race and denying racism. Journal of Counseling Psychology67(3), 288–302. https://doi.org/10.1037/cou0000427
  • Mekawi, Y., & Todd, N. R. (2018). Okay to say?: Initial validation of the Acceptability of Racial Microaggressions Scale. Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology. https://doi.org/10.1037/cdp0000201
  • Mekawi, Y., Bresin, K., & Hunter, C. D. (2017). Who is more likely to “not see race”? Individual differences in racial colorblindness. Race and Social Problems9(3), 207–217. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12552-017-9211-3
  • Mekawi, Y., & Bresin, K. (2015). Is the evidence from racial bias shooting task studies a smoking gun? Results from a meta-analysis. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology61, 120–130. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jesp.2015.08.002

Writing Resources 
  • Need a way to keep track of your papers and projects? Check out this writing tracker I use!
  • Need a way to organize papers for a literature review? Check out this literature search tracker!
Grad School Resources
  • Curious about how Dr. Mekawi evaluates grad student applicants? See this work-in-progress evaluation document! 
  • Need a way to organize all of your grad school applications? See this grad school tracker document!
  • For a list of other grad school application resources, check this out

Current Students 

  • Need to ask Dr. Mekawi for a letter of recommendation? Fill out this form!