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Am J Public Health. 2006 Oct;96(10):1821-8.

Self-reported discrimination and mental health status among African descendants, Mexican Americans, and other Latinos in the New Hampshire REACH 2010 Initiative: the added dimension of immigration.

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School of Public Health, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2029, USA.



We examined whether self-reported racial discrimination was associated with mental health status and whether this association varied with race/ethnicity or immigration status.


We performed secondary analysis of a community intervention conducted in 2002 and 2003 for the New Hampshire Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health 2010 Initiative, surveying African descendants, Mexican Americans, and other Latinos. We assessed mental health status with the Mental Component Summary (MCS12) of the Medical Outcomes Study Short Form 12, and measured discrimination with questions related to respondents' ability to achieve goals, discomfort/anger at treatment by others, and access to quality health care.


Self-reported discrimination was associated with a lower MCS12 score. Additionally, the strength of the association between self-reported health care discrimination and lower MCS12 score was strongest for African descendants, then Mexican Americans, then other Latinos. These patterns may be explained by differences in how long a respondent has lived in the United States. Furthermore, the association of health care discrimination with lower MCS12 was weaker for recent immigrants.


Discrimination may be an important predictor of poor mental health status among Black and Latino immigrants. Previous findings of decreasing mental health status as immigrants acculturate might partly be related to experiences with racial discrimination.

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