This paper reviews 138 empirical quantitative population-based studies of self-reported racism and health. These studies show an association between self-reported racism and ill health for oppressed racial groups after adjustment for a range of confounders. The strongest and most consistent findings are for negative mental health outcomes and health-related behaviours, with weaker associations existing for positive mental health outcomes, self-assessed health status, and physical health outcomes. Most studies in this emerging field have been published in the past 5 years and have been limited by a dearth of cohort studies, a lack of psychometrically validated exposure instruments, poor conceptualization and definition of racism, conflation of racism with stress, and debate about the aetiologically relevant period for self-reported racism. Future research should examine the psychometric validity of racism instruments and include these instruments, along with objectively measured health outcomes, in existing large-scale survey vehicles as well as longitudinal studies and studies involving children. There is also a need to gain a better understanding of the perception, attribution, and reporting of racism, to investigate the pathways via which self-reported racism affects health, the interplay between mental and physical health outcomes, and exposure to intra-racial, internalized, and systemic racism. Ensuring the quality of studies in this field will allow future research to reveal the complex role that racism plays as a determinant of population health.
The information contained on this website has been sourced by the Australian Indigenous Psychology Education Project (AIPEP) and AIPEP 2. The first AIPEP was funded by the Australian Government Office of Teaching and Learning. AIPEP 2 is part of the Transforming Indigenous Mental Health and Wellbeing Project, funded by the Million Minds Mission Grant. The views expressed in this website do not necessarily reflect the views of the Australian Government Office of Teaching and Learning or the Million Minds Mission Grant.
Several of the images used throughout this website are credited to Chris Lewis