Racism and health among urban Aboriginal young people

Priest, Naomi; Paradies, Yin; Stewart, Paul; Luke, Joanne
January 2011
BMC Public Health;2011, Vol. 11 Issue 1, p568
Academic Journal
Background: Racism has been identified as an important determinant of health but few studies have explored associations between racism and health outcomes for Australian Aboriginal young people in urban areas. Methods: Cross sectional data from participants aged 12-26 years in Wave 1 of the Victorian Aboriginal Health Service's Young People's Project were included in hierarchical logistic regression models. Overall mental health, depression and general health were all considered as outcomes with self-reported racism as the exposure, adjusting for a range of relevant confounders. Results: Racism was reported by a high proportion (52.3%) of participants in this study. Self-reported racism was significantly associated with poor overall mental health (OR 2.67, 95% CI 1.25-5.70, p = 0.01) and poor general health (OR 2.17, 95% CI 1.03-4.57, p = 0.04), and marginally associated with increased depression (OR 2.0; 95% CI 0.97-4.09, p = 0.06) in the multivariate models. Number of worries and number of friends were both found to be effect modifiers for the association between self-reported racism and overall mental health. Getting angry at racist remarks was found to mediate the relationship between self-reported racism and general health. Conclusions: This study highlights the need to acknowledge and address racism as an important determinant of health and wellbeing for Aboriginal young people in urban areas of Australia.


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