A systematic review of studies examining the relationship between reported racism and health and wellbeing for children and young people

Naomi Priest, Yin Paradies, Brigid Trenerry, Mandy Truong, Saffron Karlsen, Yvonne Kelly

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

295 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Racial discrimination is increasingly recognised as a determinant of racial and ethnic health inequalities, with growing evidence of strong associations between racial discrimination and adult health outcomes. There is a growing body of literature that considers the effects of racial discrimination on child and youth health. The aim of this paper is to provide a systematic review of studies that examine relationships between reported racial discrimination and child and youth health. We describe the characteristics of 121 studies identified by a comprehensive search strategy, including definitions and measurements of racial discrimination and the nature of reported associations. Most studies were published in the last seven years, used cross-sectional designs and were conducted in the United States with young people aged 12-18 years. African American, Latino/a, and Asian populations were most frequently included in these studies. Of the 461 associations examined in these studies, mental health outcomes (e.g. depression, anxiety) were most commonly reported, with statistically significant associations with racial discrimination found in 76% of outcomes examined. Statistically significant associations were also found for over 50% of associations between racial discrimination and positive mental health (e.g. self esteem, resilience), behaviour problems, wellbeing, and pregnancy/birth outcomes. The field is currently limited by a lack of longitudinal studies, limited psychometrically validated exposure instruments and poor conceptualisation and definition of racial discrimination. There is also a need to investigate the complex and varying pathways by which reported racial discrimination affect child and youth health. Ensuring study quality in this field will allow future research to reveal the complex role that racial discrimination plays as a determinant of child and youth health.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)115-127
Number of pages13
JournalSocial Science and Medicine
Volume95
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2013
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Child
  • Health outcomes
  • Prejudice
  • Racial discrimination
  • Racism
  • Systematic review
  • Wellbeing
  • Youth

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