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Stop racism

Racism may damage kids' mental health

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There is evidence that racial discrimination increases the odds that adolescents and adults will develop mental health problems, but this is the first study to examine a possible link in children of varied races, says Tumaini Coker, the study co-author and a RAND Corp. researcher and UCLA pediatrician. It does not prove that discrimination caused the emotional problems, because unlike studies of older people, these children weren't followed over time. It's possible that prejudice harms children's mental health, but it is also possible that troubled kids prompt more discriminatory remarks from peers or that children with emotional problems perceive more bias, says study leader Mark Schuster, a Harvard pediatrician and pediatrics chief at Children's Hospital Boston. The link between perceived racism and mental disorders is strong, he adds. For example, Hispanics who report racism are more than three times as likely as other children to have symptoms of depression; blacks are more than twice as likely; and those of "other" minority races have almost quadruple the odds. Rates are also higher for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), oppositional defiant disorder and conduct disorder. The study, which is published in the May American Journal of Public Health, involved more than 5,000 children in Birmingham, Ala., Houston and Los Angeles.

Prejudice was reported by 20 % of blacks, 15 % of Hispanics, 16 % in the "other" category and 7 % of whites.

 

Marilyn Elias • USA Today • May 10, 2009<. p>

source: www.pnj.com

2009-05-12


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