The Impact of Perceived Racial Discrimination on the Mental Health of Asian American and Latino College Students

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The authors examined the impact of perceived racial discrimination on various mental health outcomes for Asian American and Latino college students within an emic and etic framework. Results indicate that Asian American and Latino college students experienced similar exposure and reactions to various kinds of discrimination. However, Latino students were more likely than Asian American students to have been accused of doing something wrong, such as cheating and breaking the law, and more likely to appraise these experiences as stressful. Asian Americans evidenced higher risk for trait anxiety. Regardless of ethnicity, perceived racial discrimination was associated with several negative mental health outcomes, including higher psychological distress, suicidal ideation, state anxiety, trait anxiety, and depression. Findings highlight the need to address discrimination across multiple social and professional settings and to understand the broad array of mental health outcomes.

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