Study Finds That Perceived Racism May Produce Trauma-Like Symptoms That Impact Racial Health Disparities

A new study published in the American Psychological Association’s Journal of Counseling Psychology presents evidence that perceived racism among African-American adults may produce symptoms akin to trauma that may have a significant role in racial health disparities.

The research examined 66 studies with 18,140 participating African-American adults. Lead author Alex Pieterse, an assistant professor of counseling psychology at the University of Albany stated, “The relationship between perceived racism and self-reported depression and anxiety is quite robust, providing a reminder that experiences of racism may play an important role in the health disparities phenomenon. For example, African-Americans have higher rates of hypertension, a serious condition that has been associated with stress and depression.”

The study may be downloaded here.


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  1. Bertha Kaumbulu, Ph.D says:

    I have often wondered if there were a correlation between the mental and physical health of African Americans and racism, and why, no one has mentioned it.

    Historically, racism has been abusive, and on frequent occasions exhibits as being violent and is emotionally and physically abusive. That being said, I have often wondered how the society is able to justify and punish domestic violence in the home, while failing to see and often dismiss the massive attacks that racism as a violent act inflicts on the lives of African Americans, as well as other groups.

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