For the first time, research has found how harmful repeated racial discrimination can be on mental and physical health.
The study conducted by researchers from the University of Manchester revealed how harmful repeated racial discrimination can be on mental and physical health.
The study was looking at the accumulation of experiences of racial attacks over time including being shouted at, being physically attacked, avoiding a place, or feeling unsafe because of one’s ethnicity.
Dr Becares, Research Fellow in the University’s School of Social Sciences and in the Centre on Dynamics of Ethnicity, said: “Studies that assess the association between racial discrimination and health, or examine exposure at a certain point in time, underestimate the harm of racial discrimination on the mental health of ethnic minority people and its contribution to ethnic inequalities in health.”
In this research increased mental health problems were shown to be significantly higher among racial minorities who’d experienced repeated incidents of racial discrimination, when compared to ethnic minorities who did not report any experience of racism.
The study also found it was the fear of avoiding spaces and feeling unsafe due to racial discrimination that had the biggest cumulative effect on the mental health of ethnic minorities.
Dr Becares said: “This finding would suggest that previous exposure to racial discrimination over the life course, or awareness of racial discrimination experienced by others, can continue to affect the mental health of ethnic minority people, even after the initial exposure to racial discrimination.”
The study was published by Dr Laia Becares and colleagues in the American Journal of Public Health.