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Race Soc Probl. 2010 Mar 1;2(1):19-30.

Workplace Discrimination and Depressive Symptoms: A Study of Multi-Ethnic Hospital Employees.

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  • 1Gillings School of Global Public Health, Department of Health Behavior and Health Education, Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 334B Rosenau Hall, CB #7440, Chapel Hill, NC 27599, USA.


Workplace discrimination reports have recently increased in the U.S. Few studies have examined racial/ethnic differences and the mental health consequences of this exposure. We examined the association between self-reported workplace discrimination and depressive symptoms among a multi-ethnic sample of hospital employees. Data came from the prospective case-control Gradients of Occupational Health in Hospital Workers (GROW) study (N = 664). We used the Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale (CES-D) to assess depressive symptoms and measured the occurrence, types, and frequency of workplace discrimination. African Americans were more likely than other racial/ethnic employees to report frequent and multiple types of discrimination exposure. Multivariate relationships were examined while controlling for socio-demographic factors, job strain, and general social stressors. After adjustment, workplace discrimination occurrence and frequency were positively associated with depressive symptoms. The positive association between workplace discrimination and depressive symptoms was similar across racial and ethnic groups. Reducing workplace discrimination may improve psychosocial functioning among racial/ethnic minority hospital employees at greatest risk of exposure.

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