Racism as a determinant of social and emotional wellbeing for Aboriginal Australian youth

Naomi Priest, Yin Paradies, Wendy Gunthorpe, Sheree Cairney, Susan Sayers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: To explore the associations between self-reported racism and health and wellbeing outcomes for young Aboriginal Australian people.

Design, setting and participants: A cross-sectional study of 345 Aboriginal Australians aged 16-20 years who, as participants in the prospective Aboriginal Birth Cohort Study, were recruited at birth between 1987 and 1990 and followed up between 2006 and 2008.

Main outcome measures: Self-reported social and emotional wellbeing using a questionnaire validated as culturally appropriate for the study's participants; recorded body mass index and waist-to-hip ratio.

Results: Self-reported racism was reported by 32% of study participants. Racism was significantly associated with anxiety (odds ratio [OR], 2.18 [95% CI, 1.37-3.46]); depression (OR, 2.16 [95% CI, 1.33-3.53]); suicide risk (OR, 2.32 [95% CI, 1.25-4.00]); and poor overall mental health (OR, 3.35 [95% CI, 2.04-5.51]). No significant associations were found between self-reported racism and resilience or any anthropometric measures.

Conclusions: Self-reported racism was associated with poor social and emotional well being outcomes, including anxiety, depression, suicide risk and poor overall mental health.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)546-550
Number of pages5
JournalMedical Journal of Australia
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 16 May 2011


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