National Alliance on Mental Illness
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Experiences of Racism Among African American Parents and the Mental Health of their Pre-School Aged Children
A new study by the University of Texas School of Public Health examines the relationship between parents’ experiences of racism and children’s well-being and the influence of the residential neighborhood characteristics on this relationship.
The study was conducted by recruiting African American families from Baltimore neighborhoods. Parental measures included racism experiences and coping and neighborhood measures included demographic characteristics, social cohesion and social climate. Children's mental health was assessed by the Child Behavior Checklist.
Results found that parents who denied experiences of racism also reported higher rates of behavioral problems among their pre-school aged children. For families living in neighborhoods characterized by fear of victimization, parents who actively coped with racism experiences by confronting the person involved or taking some sort of action in response to racism reported lower rates of anxiety and depression for their preschool-aged children.