Examining the Causal Impacts of Discrimination on Mental Health

Bethany Everett, University of Colorado at Boulder
Jarron M. Saint Onge, University of Houston

An emerging body of work has examined the impact of discrimination on mental health. Several of these studies, however, are limited by the inability to establish causality between self-reported discrimination and mental health, as this relationship is confounded by several sources of endogeneity. This paper employs a minority-stress framework along with propensity score matching techniques to assess the causal impact of self-reported status discrimination on stress, depression, and anxiety. We find that using this robust statistical technique that discrimination is associated with elevated scores on all dimensions. Further, we assess the potential differential impact of discrimination by the propensity to report discrimination. We find that while all groups are negatively impacted by discrimination, the magnitude of the impact is largest among persons with both the highest and the lowest propensities to report discrimination.

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Presented in Session 139: Socio-Economic and Psycho-Social Influences on Health and Mortality