Monday, March 16, 2009

Effects of Discrimination on Health is Topic of Lecture

The effects of discrimination on one's health was the topic of a lecture at Pitt's Center on Race and Social Problems today by a professor from the University of Washington who conducted the first ever national study of discrimination as experienced by Asians and Latinos in this country, both native-born and immigrants.

Professor David Takeuchi says respondents answered questions about courtesy and respect, whether they received poor service, were treated as though they were dishonest, were insulted or called names, were threatened or harassed. 75% of Asians and 55% of Latinos born in the U.S. said they were treated with less courtesy. On all the questions, a lesser percentage of immigrants in both groups reported discrimination. Takeuchi says this may be because immigrants tend to live among large concentrations of their particular groups and have less contact with those in other groups.

The study shows perceptions of discrimination have profound effects on mental health outcomes, such as major depression. Takeuchi says discrimination is also linked to poor physical health in Asians and Latinos, whether they are born here or not.

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