The role of racial discrimination in mental health has been established in a number of studies, and a new study works out some of the details in how this works.

The study found blacks may, in general, have poorer mental health as a result of two mechanisms: First, chronic exposure to racial discrimination leads to more experiences of daily discrimination and, second, it also results in an accumulation of daily negative events across various domains of life, from family and friends to health and finances. The combination of these mechanisms, reports Anthony Ong, assistant professor of human development in the College of Human Ecology at Cornell, places blacks at greater risk for daily symptoms of depression, anxiety and negative moods.

“As a result, African-Americans experience high levels of chronic stress. And individuals who are exposed to more daily stress end up having fewer resources to cope with them,” said Ong.

The study, one of the first to look at the underlying mechanisms through which racial discrimination operates to affect the daily mental health of African-Americans, was conducted with Cornell graduate student Thomas Fuller-Rowell and Anthony Burrow, assistant professor of psychology at Loyola University-Chicago; it is published in the June issue of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology (96:6).

Press release here

Comments

  1. #1 Bill James
    June 11, 2009

    Here, let me fix this for you Greg:

    The study found short people may, in general, have poorer mental health as a result of two mechanisms: First, chronic exposure to social discrimination leads to more experiences of daily discrimination and, second, it also results in an accumulation of daily negative events across various domains of life, from family and friends to health and finances. The combination of these mechanisms, reports Anthony Ong, assistant professor of human development in the College of Human Ecology at Cornell, places short people at greater risk for daily symptoms of depression, anxiety and negative moods.

    “As a result, Short-Americans experience high levels of chronic stress. And individuals who are exposed to more daily stress end up having fewer resources to cope with them,” said Ong.

    The study, one of the first to look at the underlying mechanisms through which racial discrimination operates to affect the daily mental health of Short-Americans, was conducted by Bill James. with Cornell graduate student Thomas Fuller-Rowell and Anthony Burrow, assistant professor of psychology at Loyola University-Chicago; it is published in the June issue of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology (96:6).

    There you go. All better.

    Now as a Short-American myself, I can attest that I’m in complete agreement with this assessment. So which line do I have to stand in to get the free shit?

  2. #2 xavier
    June 11, 2009

    Bill is a white guy who lost his job recently, correct? Please do not shoot anybody

  3. #3 will shetterly
    June 12, 2009

    What I found interesting was that a third to half of blacks said they had not experienced racial discrimination.

  4. #4 Bill James
    June 12, 2009

    xavier writes: Bill is a white guy who lost his job recently, correct? Please do not shoot anybody

    So after reading Gregs post and my response, that is what fell out of your head?

    Do better.

  5. #5 JohnV
    June 12, 2009

    @xavier

    bigotry, you’re doing it right.

  6. #6 Bill James
    June 12, 2009

    Bigotry?

    Explain.

  7. #7 catgirl
    June 12, 2009

    Shorter Bill James:

    Black people are just whining for free stuff. They should just get over it and put up with the extra stress.

    Way to undermine both racism and mental health issues there. FWIW, I wouldn’t be surprised at all to find that very short people do face extra stress because of it.

  8. #8 Bridget McKinney
    June 12, 2009

    Interesting read.

    Bill goes a bit far in his comment, but I imagine that a similar study could be done for short people. Or fat people. Or ugly people. Or for people who experience chronic stresses of any kind.

    I wait tables to pay my bills, and people (customers and managers and other employees) treat waitresses like shit (not all the time, but pretty often). I used to let it bother me a lot, and I hated my job with a passion–it got to the point where I had anxiety attacks before I stepped in the door, fantasized about quitting and causing scenes, and generally felt miserable all the time–clinical depression is a drag.

    A couple of years ago, I took 3 months off work, and when I went back I was determined to go back with a more positive outlook on the whole thing. Since then, I’ve been making a concerted effort to take nothing personally, do a good job, and be as nice as I can be to everyone around me. It sounds crazy, right? But it turns out that kindness breeds kindness, people are all just people, and if you don’t let shit bother you, it bothers you a lot less.

    The more that people receive kindness and goodness from others, the more they are able to give kindness. And the more people are able to give, the more they are able to receive.

    The more shit people have to deal with on a daily basis, the less happy they are and the less they’re able to deal with other things in life. Is anyone really and truly surprised by this?

    Studies like this don’t surprise me at all. I suppose the question that should be asked is “what do we do with that?”

    Personally, I think it just highlights with statistics the fact that we should all just be nicer to each other. Which, of course, sounds easier than it is, since we can’t really legislate it. Laws like “Don’t be an asshole” seem largely unenforceable.

    I must say, though, that I’m a much happier person when I try to do my part in the “being nice” movement. I highly recommend it.

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