Washington, May 3 (ANI): A new research has shown that children who experience discrimination are more susceptible to becoming depressed.
Lee M. Pachter, co-author of the study and professor of pediatrics at Drexel University College of Medicine and St. Christopher's Hospital for Children in Philadelphia, and his colleagues surveyed 277 minority children ages 9-18 years to determine the contexts in which they perceive racism and the relationship between discrimination, depression and self-esteem.
Participants filled out questionnaires that included 23 scenarios in which they might perceive discrimination, such as being followed by a store security guard, getting poor service in a restaurant or being accused of doing something wrong at school. About two-thirds of the children were Latino or African American, and 19 percent were multiracial.
Results showed that 88 percent had at least one experience with racism, and nearly 12 percent had experienced racial discrimination in at least half of the situations described in the survey.
The most common forms of discrimination were racial remarks, being called insulting names and being followed by security guards in stores.
Experiences were similar for Latinos and African Americans, boys and girls, and younger and older children.
"Not only do most minority children experience discrimination, but they experience it in multiple contexts: in schools, in the community, with adults and with peers." Pachter said.
"It's kind of like the elephant in the corner of the room. It's there, but nobody really talks about it. And it may have significant mental and physical health consequences in these children's lives," Pachter added.
Researchers also administered the Child Depression Inventory and the Rosenberg Self Esteem Questionnaire to 52 minority children.
They found a significant correlation between perceived racism and depression, self-esteem and depression, but not between racism and self-esteem.
Pachter said that the next step is to look at whether discrimination creates stress that leads to racial/ethnic disparities in physical and mental health.
The study has been presented at the Pediatric Academic Societies (PAS) annual meeting in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. (ANI)