[1435.5] The Relationship Between Racial Discrimination and Mental Health in African American and Afro-Caribbean Youth: Results from a National Study

Lee M. Pachter, Bruce A. Bernstein. General Pediatrics, St. Christopher's Hospital for Children, Philadelphia, PA; Pediatrics, Drexel University College of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA.

BACKGROUND: The effects of racial discrimination as a social stressor on child health outcomes have been understudied. Limited data suggest a relationship between perceptions of racism and poor mental health. Furthermore, information about differences in these relationships in diverse ethnic minority groups is limited.
OBJECTIVE: To determine the relationships between perceived discrimination & various mental health outcomes (depression, anxiety, social phobia) in a national sample of African American (AA) and Afro-Caribbean (AC) teens.
DESIGN/METHODS: The National Survey of American Life (NSAL) was used to look at perceived discrimination (Everyday Discrimination Scale), lifetime major depression (LMD), lifetime anxiety disorder (LAD), lifetime social phobia (LSP), & prior 12 month major depression (12MD) and anxiety (12A) in Black youth age 13-17 through logistic regression, controlling for gender, age, & ethnicity (African American-AA vs. Afro Caribbean-AC). Moderating effects of ethnicity was investigated with interaction analysis.
RESULTS: 1170 youth were surveyed-1017 AA, 137 AC, 16 others. Eighty-five percent (85%) of the sample experienced discrimination; 6% experienced Lifetime Major Depression, 17% had Lifetime Anxiety Disorder, 13% Lifetime Social Phobia, 4% had Major Depression in last 12 mos, and 14% had Anxiety in last 12 mos. More experiences with discrimination was associates with higher odds of LMD (OR 1.11; 95% CI 1.03-1.20), LAD (OR 1.06; 1.01-1.11), LSP (1.08; 1.02-1.14), 12MD (1.12; 1.03-1.22), and 12A (1.09; 1.03-1.15). These relationships remained significant after adjusting for age, gender, & ethnicity. Ethnicity moderated the effects of discrimination on LAD--as discrimination increases, the likelihood of lifetime anxiety increases significantly more in AC compared to AA.
CONCLUSIONS: Discrimination is a social stressor associated with adverse mental health outcomes such as depression, anxiety & social phobia in a national sample of African American & Afro-Caribbean teens. While these effects are significant for both African American & Afro-Caribbean youth, increasing levels of discrimination result in a greater rise in rates of anxiety in Afro-Caribbean youth. These findings lends support to the notion that studies of toxic stress and adverse childhood experiences need to address social factors that specifically affect populations of color, and need to dis-aggregate minority groups based on ethnocultural context.


Session: Platform Session: General Pediatrics: Underserved (10:30 AM - 12:30 PM)
Date/Time: Saturday, May 3, 2014 - 11:30 AM
Room: East 13 - Vancouver Convention Centre
Course Code: 1435


Close Window