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The health of younger people in Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities in the UK is being affected by racial discrimination

18 March 2021

Landmark research demonstrates that racial discrimination has an adverse effect on the mental and physical health of younger people from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities in the UK.

The research, from King’s College London and UCL, was led by chartered psychologist and research fellow Dr Ruth Hackett, a member of the British Psychological Society’s Division of Health psychology.

It highlights the need for more effective interventions to combat racial discrimination, reduce health inequalities, increase life satisfaction, and minimise the levels of psychological distress that lead to poorer mental and physical health outcomes. 

Dr Hackett said:

“It is clear that racial discrimination is a chronic health stressor, we must continue to address and eliminate racial discrimination in order to prevent more serious illnesses for members of the Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities in their older lives.” 

Dr Hackett and her team analysed the experiences of 4,800 participants from the UK Household Longitudinal Study (UKHLS) over a period of two years between 2009 and 2011. 

This new research looked at participants with an average age of 38, all from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities in the UK, who talked about how their experiences of racism not only affected their mental and physical health at the time, but reported that it was still affecting their health two years later. 

While there is a wealth of information on the connection between race and health from studies the USA, America has a markedly different ethnic demographic and most of the American studies have smaller sample sizes and do not track the participant’s health over time.

The results of the UK research points clearly to the lived experience and health outcomes for Black Asian and Minority Ethnic people living in the UK. 

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