Young adults, who have experienced discrimination, are more vulnerable to the risk of mental and behavioural problems for the short as well as long term, says a recent study conducted by the researchers of the University of California Los Angeles.
The study was recently published in the journal Pediatrics. To conduct the study, researchers analysed around a decade’s worth of health data on 1,834 young Americans, who were between 18 to 28 years old, at the start of the study. Researchers found that the effect of discrimination is cumulative, meaning those with more incidents of discrimination have a higher risk of mental and behavioural problems.
Furthermore, the study also suggests that the effects of discrimination among young adults are highly associated with inequalities faced in care for mental health concerns and institutional discrimination in overall health care.
However, previous studies have associated discrimination including racism, gender, ageism, and physical appearance to a higher risk of using drugs, mental illness, and psychological distress.
This is the first time that a study is entirely focused on adulthood and to follow the same group of individuals over time.
Yvonne Lei, a medical student at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and the study’s corresponding author, said that 75 percent of the cases of mental health issues occur at the age of 24.
Therefore, the transition phase of adulthood is very important for the prevention of such mental and behavioural health problems. According to him, based on this, we should reconsider the reform of mental health services, so that care can be ensured on an equitable and rational basis.
Conclusion of the study
It was found that among the participants, 25 percent of them had shown the cumulative risk for psychological distress, mental illness, and drug use.
Over 10 years of the study, it was also found that young adults who experienced year-over-year discrimination had a higher cumulative effect of psychological distress and were associated with drug use and other health problems. These findings suggest that the effects of discrimination on mental and behavioural health care are multidimensional.
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