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Discrimination and Subsequent Mental Health, Substance Use, and Well-being in Young Adults.

PMID: 34816276 (view PubMed database entry)
DOI: 10.1542/peds.2021-051378 (read at publisher's website )

Yvonne Lei, Vivek Shah, Christopher Biely, Nicholas Jackson, Rebecca Dudovitz, Elizabeth Barnert, Emily Hotez, Alma Guerrero, Anthony L Bui, Narayan Sastry, Adam Schickedanz,

<h4>Objectives</h4>Discrimination has been shown to have profound negative effects on mental and behavioral health and may influence these outcomes early in adulthood. We aimed to examine short-term, long-term, and cumulative associations between different types of interpersonal discrimination (eg, racism, sexism, ageism, and physical appearance discrimination) and mental health, substance use, and well-being for young adults in a longitudinal nationally representative US sample.<h4>Methods</h4>We used data from 6 waves of the Transition to Adulthood Supplement (2007-2017, 1834 participants) of the Panel Study of Income Dynamics. Outcome variables included self-reported health, drug use, binge drinking, mental illness diagnosis, Languishing and Flourishing score, and Kessler Psychological Distress Scale score. We used logistic regression with cluster-robust variance estimation to test cross-sectional and longitudinal associations between discrimination frequency (overall, cumulative, and by different reason) and outcomes, controlling for sociodemographics.<h4>Results</h4>Increased discrimination frequency was associated with higher prevalence of languishing (relative risk [RR] 1.34 [95% CI 1.2-1.4]), psychological distress (RR 2.03 [95% CI 1.7-2.4]), mental illness diagnosis (RR 1.26 [95% CI 1.1-1.4]), drug use (RR 1.24 [95% CI 1.2-1.3]), and poor self-reported health (RR 1.26 [95% CI 1.1-1.4]) in the same wave. Associations persisted 2 to 6 years after exposure to discrimination. Similar associations were found with cumulative high-frequency discrimination and with each discrimination subcategory in cross-sectional and longitudinal analyses.<h4>Conclusions</h4>In this nationally representative longitudinal sample, current and past discrimination had pervasive adverse associations with mental health, substance use, and well-being in young adults.

Pediatrics (Pediatrics)
[2021, 148(6):]

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