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August 2016

Research highlights impact of numerous racial discrimination attacks

(1 August 2016)

New research by colleagues from the School of Social Sciences has revealed for the first time how harmful repeated racial discrimination can be on mental and physical health. 

The study, published by Dr Laia Becares, Professor James Nazroo and Stephanie Wallace from the Centre on Dynamics of Ethnicity, looked at the accumulation of experiences of racial attacks over time, including being shouted at, being physically attacked, avoiding a place, or feeling unsafe because of one’s ethnicity. 

In this research increased mental health problems were shown to be significantly higher among racial minorities who had experienced repeated incidents of racial discrimination, when compared to ethnic minorities who had not reported any experience of racism.

The study also found it was the fear of avoiding spaces and feeling unsafe due to racial discrimination that had the biggest cumulative effect on the mental health of ethnic minorities. 

Dr Becares said: "This finding would suggest that previous exposure to racial discrimination over the life course, or awareness of racial discrimination experienced by others, can continue to affect the mental health of ethnic minority people, even after the initial exposure to racial discrimination. 

“Our research highlights just how harmful racial discrimination is for the health of ethnic minorities. We see how the more racism ethnic minority people experience, the more psychological distress they suffer from. This is important in light of the documented increase of racist attacks after Brexit.”