Social Status, Discrimination, and Minority Individuals’ Mental Health: A Secondary Analysis of US National Surveys

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Objectives: Our study measured minority individuals’ social status factors and frequency of discrimination experiences, in order to delineate social mechanisms linking race/ethnicity to mental status (specifically, to current mood/anxiety disorder and self-rated mental health). Methods: In this nationally representative secondary research, our data analyses drew on the cross-sectional “Collaborative Psychiatric Epidemiology Surveys,” dating 2001–2003. The sample for the final model numbered 9368 respondents (2016 Asians, 2676 Latinos, 4676 blacks). Results: Across races/ethnicities, better mental health was associated with male gender, higher income, marriage, more education, and less-frequent discrimination experiences; discrimination experiences could impair health, especially among blacks. Marriage’s strong contribution to Asians’ mental health did not hold among blacks; education’s contribution to Latinos’ mental health did not hold among blacks either. Blacks’ mental health was unaffected by immigration status, but Asian and Latino immigrants showed less-robust mental health than native-born counterparts. Conclusions: Across the three racial/ethnic groups studied, differences were noted in relationships between self-reported mental health status and the employed social status and discrimination factors.



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