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Keywords:

  • Discrimination;
  • segregation;
  • mental health;
  • physical health

Objective. This study examines the association between discrimination due to race and other attributes (e.g., sex, age) and self-assessed mental and physical health among Latinos and blacks.

Data Source. Latino and black adult participants (n=873) identified by random digit dialing were interviewed by telephone in four low-income neighborhoods in New York City: the South Bronx, East Harlem, Central Harlem, and Bedford-Stuyvesant.

Study Design. In this cross-sectional study, generalized estimating equations were used to fit multilevel multivariable models to test the association between discrimination and poor mental and physical health while controlling for socioeconomic status, access to health care, social support, smoking, and the racial and ethnic composition of each neighborhood.

Principal Findings. Discrimination due to race and discrimination due to other attributes were associated with poor self-assessed mental but not physical health in separate multivariable models. Persons who experienced multiple domains of discrimination had a greater probability of reporting poor mental health than persons who experienced no discrimination.

Conclusions. Discrimination due to race and other attributes was a significant correlate of mental health among Latinos and blacks independent of other accepted determinants of health.