three different developmental domains: health, academic achievement, and antisocial behavior.
Mental and Physical Health. Adolescents who perceive or experience repeated discrimination report elevated levels of depression, more general psychological distress, and lower self-worth (Simons et al., 2002; Prelow et al., 2004; Huynh and Fuligni, 2010). In addition to these mental health challenges, new programs of research are documenting that these kinds of race-based discrimination experiences are also linked to long-term physical health problems, such as hypertension and heart disease—the very diseases that disproportionately affect African Americans (Mays, Cochran, and Barnes, 2007). If stressful enough, perceived or actual discrimination experiences are thought to set in motion a series of physiological responses (e.g., elevated blood pressure and heart rate) that eventually result in disease.
Academic Achievement. Perceived discrimination also affects academic outcomes. Several studies have now documented that as reports of unfair race-based treatment by teachers increase, adolescents’ grades decline (DeGarmo and Martinez, 2006; Neblett et al., 2006; Berkel et al., 2010). Studies of mediating mechanisms suggest that multiple perceived discrimination experiences undermine the motivation to do well in school (Wong, Eccles, and Sameroff, 2003), and promote the perception of a school climate that is unresponsive to the needs of ethnic minority youth (Benner and Graham, 2011). Low motivation and perceived negative school climate are both known predictors of academic decline. The growing literature on racial disparities in the use of punishment in schools (Losen, 2011) suggests that perceived unfair treatment by teachers is likely to be increasing among ethnic minority youth and contributing to academic disengagement.
Antisocial Behavior. Third, and most germane to the focus of this report, there is a small but growing empirical literature documenting relations among perceived discrimination, externalizing symptoms, and antisocial behavior. For some adolescents of color, repeated experiences with perceived discrimination are correlated with attitudes and behaviors that suggest a weakened commitment to conventional rules and values. For example, in cross-sectional studies, personal experiences with unfair treatment due to race were significantly correlated with teacher reports of externalizing behavior for Latino youth (Vega et al., 1995), substance abuse for American Indian youth (Whitbeck et al., 2001) and delinquent behavior for Chinese American youth (Deng et al., 2010). Among black youth, with whom most of the discrimination research has been conducted, perceived unfair treatment has been linked to anger and a hostile view of relationships (Simons et al., 2003) as well as self-reported delinquency (DuBois et al., 2002b; Prelow