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Trends and mental health correlates of discrimination among Latin American and Asian immigrants in the United States



To examine the national trends and mental health correlates of discrimination among Latin American and Asian immigrants in the United States.


We examine data from the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions collected between 2004 and 2013. Recurrent discrimination was measured by respondent reports of adverse experiences such as receiving poor treatment in restaurants or being called a racist name.


Rates of perceived discrimination increased by more than 80 percent among immigrants from Latin America (from 14% in 2004 to 25% in 2013), but remained unchanged among Asian immigrants (20–22%). Large percentage point (pp) increases were observed among Latin American immigrants with less than a high school education (pp increase = 13.5) and residing in households earning $20-35,000 annually (pp increase = 14.0).


Findings raise concern both because of the inherent iniquitousness of discrimination and because identity-based mistreatment is linked with mental health problems.

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Correspondence to Christopher P. Salas-Wright.

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Research reported in this publication was supported by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) under Award Number K01AA026645. The research was also supported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) under Award Number R25 DA030310. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of NIAAA, NIDA, or the NIH.

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Salas-Wright, C.P., Vaughn, M.G., Goings, T.C. et al. Trends and mental health correlates of discrimination among Latin American and Asian immigrants in the United States. Soc Psychiatry Psychiatr Epidemiol 55, 477–486 (2020).

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  • Immigrants
  • Discrimination
  • Latin American
  • Latino
  • Asian
  • Mental health