-- Mary Elizabeth Dallas
FRIDAY, Nov. 25 (HealthDay News) -- Racism is similar to trauma
in how it affects the mental health of black adults in the United
States, a new analysis finds.
An examination of 66 previous studies that included more than
18,000 black adults concluded that there are common responses to
both racism and trauma, including somatization (psychological
distress that is expressed as physical pain), interpersonal
sensitivity and anxiety. The more stressful the racism, the more
likely a person was to report mental distress.
The study is published online in the
Journal of Counseling Psychology.
The researchers suggested that the link between mental health
and racism could contribute to physical health disparities between
blacks and other Americans of different races and ethnicities.
"The relationship between perceived racism and self-reported depression and anxiety is quite robust, providing a reminder that experiences of racism may play an important role in the health disparities phenomenon," study lead author Alex Pieterse from the University at Albany, State University of New York, said in an American Psychological Association news release. "For example, African Americans have higher rates of hypertension [high blood pressure], a serious condition that has been associated with stress and depression."
The study's authors noted that therapists should routinely
assess their black patients' experiences with racism during
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on
health disparities related to
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