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Mental health problems more common in kids who feel racial discrimination
Date:4/27/2009

ation than white children (7 percent).

The strongest and most consistent association of discrimination with mental health symptoms involved symptoms of depression in African American, Hispanic and "other" children reporting discrimination. This association was not significant for whites.

Other findings included:

  • Among Hispanic children, those who reported perceived discrimination were more likely to have symptoms of each of the four mental health conditions.
  • Among African American children, those who reported perceived discrimination were more likely to have symptoms of depression and conduct disorder.
  • Among white children, those who reported perceived discrimination were more likely to have symptoms of oppositional defiant disorder and conduct disorder.

"It is concerning that children this young are already reporting that they have faced racial or ethnic discrimination," said senior author Dr. Mark A. Schuster, William Berenberg Professor of Pediatrics at Children's Hospital Boston and Harvard Medical School. "We need to examine what they are experiencing and how to address this issue."

The next stages of research will examine if racial and ethnic discrimination precede the symptoms of mental health conditions and also will look at the mechanisms by which discrimination might lead to poor mental health outcomes and how these mechanisms might differ by race and mental health condition.

"Many parents have discussions about school with their child's health care provider during regular check-ups," Coker said. "Because most children in our study with perceived racial or ethnic discrimination reported that it occurred at school, clinicians could address the topic as part of these school-related discussions."


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Contact: Amy Albin
aalbin@mednet.ucla.edu
310-794-8672
University of California - Los Angeles
Source:Eurekalert

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