BY: ERIN DONNELLY
PHOTOGRAPHED BY ROCKIE NOLAN
A new study from England’s University of Manchester has determined that repeat exposure to racial discrimination can have a negative effect on a person’s mental and physical health.
The study, published in the American Journal of Public Health, found that racial minorities who had experienced multiple incidents of racial abuse, including being verbally or physically attacked, presented a higher number of mental-health problems than minorities who had little or no experience with discrimination.
A major factor was whether or not a person felt unsafe and thus avoided places where they might encounter discrimination. The study found that this behavior had the greatest effect on a person’s mental health.
“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,” explained Dr. Laia Becares, who published the study.
“Our research highlights just how harmful racial discrimination is for the health of ethnic minorities,” she added. “We see how the more racism ethnic minority people experience, the more psychological distress they suffer from.”