Racial differences in discrimination experiences and responses among minority substance users

Thomas Minior, Sandro Galea, Jennifer Stuber, Jennifer Ahern, Danie Ompad

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Objectives: Discrimination is associated with both mental and physical health, and may be a particularly important determinant of health among marginalized groups. This study assessed differences in discrimination experiences and responses to discrimination between Black and Latino active substance users in New York City. Methods: 500 Black and 419 Latino active substance users were recruited through outreach workers, service agencies, and word of mouth. We collected data about different types of discrimination experienced (eg, discrimination due to race, gender, substance use), the domains in which it occurred (eg, at work, with police), and participants' responses to unfair treatment. Results: Discrimination due to drug use was the most commonly reported type of discrimination among both Blacks and Latinos. Black respondents were more likely than Latinos to report discrimination due to their drug use (79% to 70%), race (39% to 23%), poverty (38% to 26%), gender (18% to 9%), and sexual orientation (38% to 6%). However, among those reporting discrimination due to drug use, Latinos experienced more rejection from family (81% to 70%), friends (73% to 60%), police (86% to 79%), employers (72% to 56%), and medical care professionals (29% to 18%). Black respondents were more likely to respond actively to discrimination, whereas Latino respondents were more likely to internalize experiences. Conclusions: Substantial differences exist in discrimination experiences and responses to discrimination between Black and Latino substance users. These differences may help explain racial and ethnic differences in health among marginalized populations, and identify avenues for effective, targeted intervention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)521-527
Number of pages7
JournalEthnicity and Disease
Volume13
Issue number4
StatePublished - Sep 1 2003

    Fingerprint

Keywords

  • African American
  • Black
  • Discrimination
  • Illicit drug use
  • Latino
  • Substance use

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology

Cite this