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  • Ryan Wittler

Kids Who Face Discrimination Are More Likely to Develop Mental Health Issues as Adults

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A new study from researchers at UCLA has found people who faced more discrimination as a child are more likely to develop behavioral and mental health issues later in life.

Some highlights:

The decade-long study followed 1,834 Americans who were between the ages of 18 and 28 when the study began, finding people who faced any discrimination -- whether on the basis of race, sex, age, physical appearance or other biases -- had a 26% greater risk of developing mental health or psychological issues.

People who faced frequent discrimination, defined as a few times or more per month, were about 25% more likely to be diagnosed with a mental illness or experience severe psychological distress.

Why it matters:

Other studies have shown an association between discrimination and a higher risk for mental illness, psychological distress, and drug use. However, while the previous work has only examined a correlation between childhood and adulthood, the UCLA study is the first to track the same group of people over time.

Sad stats:

The researchers found 93% of people included in the study reported experiencing some kind of discrimination. The most common forms were based on age (26%), physical appearance (19%), sex (14%), and race (13%).

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