Racism Impacts Mental Health of Teens
University of Melbourne researchers say the study, which found 461 cases of links between racism and child and youth health outcomes, is the first of its kind.
Lead researcher Dr. Naomi Priest said the review demonstrated racism as an important factor influencing the health and wellbeing of children and youth.
“The review showed there are strong and consistent relationships between racial discrimination and a range of detrimental health outcomes such as low self-esteem, reduced resilience, increased behavior problems and lower levels of wellbeing.”
Interpersonal experiences of racism — between people rather than institutional or systemic racism — are the most common types of racism.
Associations between racism and behavior problems, pregnancy and birth outcomes were common. The studies reviewed found children whose mother experienced racism during pregnancy were more likely to have poorer birth outcomes.
Most studies reviewed were conducted in the U.S. with younger people aged 12-18.
The three most common ethnic/racial groups represented in the studies were African-American, Latino, and Asian, including East Asian, South Asian and other Asian.
Priest said the review identified an important issue that needed to be addressed in society, schools and communities to improve child and youth health.
“We know that children who experience poor health and well-being are less likely to engage in education, employment and other activities that support them to lead healthy and productive lives and to participate meaningfully in the community,” she said.
The review was conducted in collaboration with Deakin University and University College London.
The research will published in the journal Social Science & Medicine.
Source: University of Melbourne