What strategies help ethnic minority adolescents cope with racism?

A new study finds that maintaining a strong ethnic identity and high levels of social support can help Latino adolescents in the United States cope with racism. On the other hand, outward expression of anger exacerbated the association between discrimination and adjustment problems.

The 3-wave longitudinal study included 269 Mexican-origin adolescents from the Midwestern United States who completed questionnaires spaced approximately 4 months apart.

"Our study findings have important public health implications by identifying malleable risk (such as outward anger expression) and protective factors (such as strong ethnic identity and high levels of ) in the discrimination-mental health link among Mexican-origin adolescents," said Dr. Irene J. K. Park, lead author of the Child Development study.

"Such information is critical in the reduction of health disparities as it will aid in the development of more targeted and culturally-sensitive interventions that can mitigate the detrimental impact of racism on the mental health of Latino youths."

More information: Irene J. K. Park et al, Coping With Racism: Moderators of the Discrimination-Adjustment Link Among Mexican-Origin Adolescents, Child Development (2017). DOI: 10.1111/cdev.12856
Journal information: Child Development

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