Article

Does Health Predict the Reporting of Racial Discrimination or Do Reports of Discrimination Predict Health? Findings from the National Longitudinal Study of Youth

UCLA, Community Health Sciences, 650 Charles E. Young Dr. South, Los Angeles, CA 90024, USA.
Social Science [?] Medicine (Impact Factor: 2.89). 04/2009; 68(9):1676-84. DOI: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2009.02.002
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT

Racial discrimination may contribute to diminished well-being, possibly through stress and restricted economic advancement. Our study examines whether reports of racial discrimination predict health problems, and whether health problems predict the reporting of racial discrimination. Data come from years 1979 to 1983 of the US National Longitudinal Study of Youth, focusing on respondents of Black (n=1851), Hispanic (n=1170), White (n=3450) and other (n=1387) descent. Our analyses indicate that reports of racial discrimination in seeking employment predict health-related work limitations, although these limitations develop over time, and not immediately. We also find that reports of discrimination at two time-points appear more strongly related to health-related work limitations than reports at one time-point. A key finding is that these limitations do not predict the subsequent reporting of racial discrimination in seeking employment. These findings inform our knowledge of the temporal ordering of racial discrimination in seeking employment and health-related work conditions among young adults. The findings also indicate that future research should carefully attend to the patterns and timing of discrimination.

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    • "The effects of perceived discrimination on adverse health outcomes do not differ gender or between immigrants coming from different countries of origin . Consistent with previous research , we thus do not find evidence of a differential vulnerability to perceived discrimination between different groups ( Gee and Walsemann 2009 ; Kessler , Mickelson , and Williams 1999 ; Krieger and Sidney 1996 ) . However , there is strong evidence for differential exposure ( Kessler , Mickelson , and Williams 1999 ) in our data . "

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    • "The findings of this study must be interpreted in the context of several limitations. The cross-sectional nature of the study design limits definitive conclusions about directions of causality (Gee and Walsemann, 2009). Although evidence from longitudinal studies suggests that racism precedes ill health, the converse cannot be ruled out in this study. "
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    • "The effects of perceived discrimination on adverse health outcomes do not differ gender or between immigrants coming from different countries of origin . Consistent with previous research , we thus do not find evidence of a differential vulnerability to perceived discrimination between different groups ( Gee and Walsemann 2009 ; Kessler , Mickelson , and Williams 1999 ; Krieger and Sidney 1996 ) . However , there is strong evidence for differential exposure ( Kessler , Mickelson , and Williams 1999 ) in our data . "
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    ABSTRACT: Objective: Discrimination is an important determinant of health, and its experience may contribute to the emergence of health inequalities between immigrants and nonimmigrants. We examine pathways between perceived discrimination and health among immigrants in Germany: (1) whether perceptions of discrimination predict self-reported mental and physical health (SF-12), or (2) whether poor mental and physical health predict perceptions of discrimination, and (3) whether discrimination affects physical health via mental health. Design: Data on immigrants come from the German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP) from the years 2002 to 2010 (N = 8,307), a large national panel survey. Random and fixed effects regression models have been estimated. Results: Perceptions of discrimination affect mental and physical health. The effect of perceived discrimination on physical health is mediated by its effect on mental health. Our analyses do not support the notion that mental and physical health predict the subsequent reporting of discrimination. Different immigrant groups are differentially exposed to perceived discrimination. Conclusion: In spite of anti-discrimination laws, the health of immigrants in Germany is negatively affected by perceived discrimination. Differential exposure to perceived discrimination may be seen as a mechanism contributing to the emergence of health inequalities in Germany.
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