244080 Workplace Discrimination and its Association with Mental Health and Race Consciousness

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Kimberly R. Taylor, PhD, MPH, MS , College of Health Sciences, Walden University, Minneapolis, MN
Laurie D. Elam-Evans, PhD, MPH , Division of Behavioral Surveillance, CDC, Atlanta, GA
Camara Jones, MD, MPH, PhD , Division of Measurement and Analytic Methods, Epidemiology Analysis Program Office, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA
Lina S. Balluz, ScD, MPH , Office of Surveillance, Epidemiology, and Laboratory Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA

Perceived racial discrimination in the workplace is an increasing public health concern because of its link to poor mental health. We conducted this analysis to explore the relationship between discrimination at work and poor mental health (≥ 14 mentally unhealthy days). We also determined the impact of race consciousness ("How often do you think about your race?") on this association.


Data were obtained from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), a state-based random-digit-dial (RDD) telephone survey that collects data on health behaviors and conditions among the non-institutionalized U.S. adult population. We pooled the 2004-2009 data for the 13 states that administered the Reaction to Race module (n = 304,879). Data were weighted to the sex, racial/ethnic, and age distribution of the state's adult population. Logistic regression analysis was used to examine the association. We used SAS-callable SUDAAN to account for the complex sample design.


Approximately 6% of the respondents reported workplace discrimination; 69% of those reporting workplace discrimination reported poor mental health. Respondents reporting workplace discrimination were 1.41 times more likely to have ≥ 14 mentally unhealthy days after adjusting for socially assigned race, age, gender, and education (OR [95% CI]=1.41[1.21-1.63]). Race consciousness attenuated the association (OR [95% CI]=1.29[1.11-1.50]).


Workplace discrimination was associated with poor mental health. Research is needed to 1) increase awareness of workplace discrimination and its association with poor mental health; 2) to identify factors that impact the association between discrimination and health; and 3) to develop appropriate interventions.

Learning Areas:
Diversity and culture
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Discuss the impacts of perceived workplace discrimination on mental health. Identify factors that impact the association between discrimination and health.

Keywords: Mental Health, Social Inequalities

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to present because I have several years of experience in conducting epidemiological surveillance activities.
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.