A study links facing discrimination at a young age with future mental health issues

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A new study suggests that people who face discrimination at a young age are more likely to develop behavioral and mental health problems later in life.

And the risks may be cumulative; those who faced more incidents of discrimination had an even higher risk of future problems, researchers found.

The UCLA study, published in the journal Pediatrics on Sunday, looked at health data for 1,834 Americans who were between the ages of 18 and 28 when the study started. The authors said it was the first time researchers had probed the effects of discrimination on the same group of young people during their transition to adulthood.

“With 75% of all lifetime mental health disorders presenting by age 24, the transition to adulthood is a crucial time to prevent mental and behavioral health problems,” Yvonne Lei, a medical student at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and the study’s corresponding author, said in a press release.

The data came from the University of Michigan’s Transition to Adulthood Supplement of the Panel Study of Income Dynamics survey, in which 93% of respondents reported experiencing discrimination. It included discrimination based on age, physical appearance, sex, race and other factors.



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