subsequent health-relevant events and how experiences may have different effects over the life course. Such a framework is also needed to put scientific observations in context, since these observations necessarily pertain to particular periods and may be of limited relevance to individuals late in the life course. Models for the complex biopsychosocial processes involved in stress reactions to the experience of discrimination also require development (Clark et al., 1999; Harrell et al., 2003; Williams et al., 2003), as we discuss further in the next chapter.

Research Need 11: Evaluate the effects of prejudice and discrimination on the health of minorities other than blacks.

Other racial and ethnic groups, such as American Indians and Alaska Natives, have been subject to prejudice over long periods. Immigrants have also been discriminated against, though as they assimilate and new immigrants enter, the targets shift. Arab Americans and Muslims are the latest to feel targeted. Yet indicators for the health of older adults in these groups are more favorable than indicators for blacks—and indicators actually deteriorate for immigrants as they assimilate and prejudice presumably declines. Does prejudice have effects on health in these groups, but are the effects counterbalanced by other factors, such as immigrant selectivity or better socioeconomic status? Or is prejudice against these groups weaker or less pervasive, of a different quality, or for some reason less consequential for health than among blacks? The answers could have implications not only for these racial and ethnic groups, but also for understanding the mechanisms that link prejudice and health for any group.



The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement