Discrimination and Mental Health Problems Among Homeless Minority Young People

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SYNOPSISObjective.We examined the associations among perceived discrimination, racial/ethnic identification, and emotional distress in newly homeless adolescents.Methods.We assessed a sample of newly homeless adolescents (n=254) in Los Angeles, California, with measures of perceived discrimination and racial/ethnic identification. We assessed emotional distress using the Brief Symptom Inventory and used multivariate linear regression modeling to gauge the impact of discrimination and racial identity on emotional distress.Results.Controlling for race and immigration status, gender, and age, young people with a greater sense of ethnic identification experienced less emotional distress. Young people with a history of racial/ethnic discrimination experienced more emotional distress.Conclusion.Intervention programs that contextualize discrimination and enhance racial/ethnic identification and pride among homeless young people are needed.

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