Discrimination Takes Toll on Mental Health of Young Adults: Study

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A new study conducted by UCLA has claimed that young adults, who face discrimination on the basis of their gender, colour, body or race, have a higher risk of suffering from behavioural and mental health problems compared to others. The effect on their mental health due to discrimination could be both short and long term.

In the study, the researchers examined ten-year health data of 1834 Americans. The subjects of the study were between the age of 18 and 28 years. The paper claimed that the more one face discrimination, the severe effect it has on their mental health. The findings of the research were published in the journal Pediatrics.

The study included data from the University of Michigan’s Transition to Adulthood Supplement of the Panel Study of Income Dynamics survey spanning from 2007 to 2017.

In the research, over 90 per cent population acknowledged facing discrimination due to various reasons. The most prominent factor for the discrimination was age (26 per cent), followed by appearance (19 per cent), gender (14 per cent) and race (13 per cent).

According to the analysis, a person facing any kind of discrimination a few times in a month is 25 per cent more likely to be diagnosed with a mental health problem as compared to others. A person facing frequent discrimination is twice as likely to develop severe psychological distress compared to others.

The researchers also stressed that the discrimination in young adults also includes the disparities in care for mental health concerns, including diagnosis and treatment among other factors.

Discrimination also leads to a 26 per cent higher risk of poor health and drug use.

Speaking about their findings, Yvonne Lei, the corresponding author of the study, says, “With 75 per cent of all lifetime mental health disorders presenting by age 24, the transition to adulthood is a crucial time to prevent mental and behavioural health problems.” Lei is also a student of medical studies at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. Lei also highlighted that the COVID-19 shutdown has brought new mental health challenges for the “vulnerable population.”

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