220511 Racial discrimination and health among Asian Americans: Evidence, assessment, and directions for future research

Monday, November 8, 2010 : 10:45 AM - 11:00 AM

Gilbert C. Gee, PhD , School of Public Health, Community Health Sciences, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA
Annie Ro, MPH , Health Behavior and Health Education, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
Salma N. Shariff-Marco, PhD, MPH , Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences, Applied Research Program, National Cancer Institute, Rockville, MD
David H. Chae, ScD , Center for Health and Community, University of California, San Francisco, CA
BACKGROUND Racial discrimination may be related to illness. Recent reviews, however, suggest that there is little knowledge about this topic among Asians and Pacific Islanders (APIs).

OBJECTIVE We assessed the current knowledge related to self-reported discrimination and health among APIs.

METHODS We conducted a systematic review of the scientific literature. Inclusion criteria were: focus on APIs; empirical study of discrimination and health or health behavior; published between 1960-2009 in a peer-reviewed journal.

RESULTS Sixty-two articles met our criteria. The majority (40) focused on mental health. Fewer focused on physical health (16) or health behaviors (20) (some articles had multiple outcomes). As a group, all 62 studies supported the hypothesized relationship that discrimination was associated with illness, although these associations were most robust for mental health outcomes.

We also observed that: (1) most studies use measures of discrimination designed for non-API populations; (2) most studies adopted a stress framework; (3) few studies test potential moderators; (4) little research has included Pacific Islander or South Asian populations.

CONCLUSION We found far more studies related to discrimination and APIs than expected. These studies indicated that APIs report discrimination and that these reports are related to poor health. Future research should: (1) include the development of API-specific instruments; (2) continue investigation of physical health and health behaviors; (3) test moderators that could buffer (i.e. social support) or amplify (e.g. poverty) the effects of discrimination; (4) focus on Pacific Islander and South Asian populations; (5) develop interventions and policies that counteract racial discrimination.

Learning Areas:
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe the association between racial discrimination and health among Asian Americans 2. Identify the gaps in the literature that may be addressed in future studies

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to present because I am a contributing author to this paper and this is my area of research expertise.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.