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Health Soc Work. 2010 Feb;35(1):61-9.

Perceived racism and discrimination in children and youths: an exploratory study.

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Department of Pediatrics, Drexel University College of Medicine and St. Christopher's Hospital for Children, Philadelphia, PA 19134, USA.


Racism may be a factor contributing to poor health and health care disparities in minority children through multiple mechanisms, including effects on psychological and physical wellbeing. Little is known about the experiences of racism that children encounter in their lives. This study describes the occurrences of perceived racism in children, including the settings and contexts in which it occurs. A questionnaire was administered to a convenience sample of urban children (eight to 16 years of age) asking about settings and situations in which they perceived discrimination. Two hundred and seventy-seven children completed the questionnaire; 88 percent ofthe children had at least one experience with racial discrimination, and 11.6 percent had experienced racism in at least half (12) of the 23 situations addressed in the questionnaire. Settings included schools and community contexts, and both peers and adults were perceived to be perpetrators. There were few differences in perceptions of racist episodes among different ethnocultural minority groups. Racism is perceived to be a common occurrence in many minority children's lives. Studies investigating perceptions of racism and how they relate to health disparities need to be conducted.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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