New Research on Racial Discrimination and Mental Health Co-Authored by Chen, Williams and Cantor

December 22, 2023

Racial discrimination and mental health in the context of anti-Asian xenophobia: An intersecting approach of race, ethnicity, nativity, and socioeconomic status

Abstract

The COVID-19 pandemic, polarized politics, and heightened stigma and discrimination are salient drivers for negative mental health outcomes, particularly among marginalized racial and ethnic minoritized groups. Intersectionality of race, ethnicity, foreign-born status, and educational attainment may distinctively shape an individual’s experience of discrimination and mental health during such unprecedented time. The present study examines the differential associations of racial discrimination and mental health based on an individual’s race, ethnicity, foreign-born status, and educational attainment during the COVID-19 pandemic. Analyses were based on a nationally representative sample of U.S. adults collected between October and November 2021 (n = 6276). We utilized multivariable linear regressions to identify the multiplicative effects of race, ethnic, foreign-born status and self-reported racial discrimination on mental health, stratified by educational attainment. Among individuals with lower educational attainment, associations between racial discrimination and poor mental health were stronger among Asians (US-born: β = −2.07, p = 0.03; foreign-born: β = −3.18, p = 0.02) and US-born multiracial individuals (β = −1.96, p = 0.02) than their White counterparts. Among individuals with higher educational attainment, foreign-born Hispanics (β = − 3.66, p < 0.001) and US-born Asians (β = −2.07, p = 0.01) reported worst mental health when exposed to racial discrimination out of all other racial, ethnic and foreign-born groups. Our results suggest that association of racial discrimination and mental health varies across racial, ethnic, foreign-born, and education subgroups. Using an intersectional approach to address the widening inequities in racial discrimination and mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic contextualizes unique experience of discrimination and provides crucial insight on the patterns of mental health among marginalized groups.

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Yen-Tyng Chen, Yuqing Zhou, Sharifa Williams, Joel Cantor, Bruce G. Taylor, Phoebe A. Lamuda, Harold A. Pollack, John Schneider, Racial discrimination and mental health in the context of anti-Asian xenophobia: An intersecting approach of race, ethnicity, nativity, and socioeconomic status, SSM – Mental Health, 2023, 100292, ISSN 2666-5603, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ssmmh.2023.100292

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