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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Gender and the Association between Discrimination and Psychological Distress Amongst African Americans in the California Quality of Life Survey

  • Author(s): Glenn, Matthew
  • Advisor(s): Cochran, Susan D
  • et al.

Racial discrimination serves as a psychosocial stressor with implications for health, including mental health. Previous research indicates that while African American men report more discrimination events, African American women are at greater risk for some psychiatric conditions. The responses from Black respondents to the California Quality of Life Survey (Cal-QOL) in 2005 and 2007 were analyzed to test the hypothesis that gender moderates the association between discrimination and distress, so that women are more susceptible to the deleterious effects of discrimination than men. Results of a multinomial regression model indicate that High perceived discrimination was associated with having 4.1 times the odds of severe distress (95% CI 1.4, 13; p=.01) after controlling for other factors. There were no gender differences in perceived non-specific discrimination (χ2= 4.0; p=.14), but women were at 43 times the odds of men for moderate distress (95% CI 8.1, 226; p<.0001). There was no evidence of an interaction between gender and discrimination, suggesting that the effects of discrimination are equally harmful for both men and women.

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