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August 17
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discrimination studyA new discrimination study by California State University, Northridge child and adolescent development professor Virginia Huynh suggests that the impact from an individual’s experiences of discrimination can spill over into their family life, including depression among teenagers and increased marijuana use by parents.

The study, titled “Discrimination and health: A dyadic approach,” is one of the first of its kind to include Asian and Latin American families. It was recently published in the Journal of Health Psychology.

“We followed teenagers and one of their parents — usually it was the mom — for five years and asked about their discrimination experiences, substance use and health,” Huynh said, noting that the substance use researchers were measuring were marijuana and alcohol.

“The results suggest that individuals’ experiences of discrimination can spill over to some aspects of the family context, depending on who is experiencing the discrimination — the parent or the adolescent,” she said. “If the parent experienced discrimination, then the adolescent reported an increase in depression. If the adolescent reported the discrimination, it can spill over into the parent’s marijuana use.”

Huynh said the discrimination study invites further research into how discrimination impacts children and their families. It also “suggests that families, rather than just individuals, may require resources to help them effectively cope with discrimination,” she said.

Huynh in conducted the study with psychiatry and behavioral sciences professor Michael R. Irwin, psychology professor Andrew J. Fuligni, epidemiology and medicine professor Theresa Seeman, and researchers Danny Rahal and Heather McCreath, all of the University of California, Los Angeles, and psychology professor Evelyn Mercado of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

Huynh noted that there is little research on how experiencing discrimination impacts adolescents and their families. What research does exist, she said, tends to focus on African American families, and on the effect of parents’ discrimination experiences on their children.

“Yet, there is likely a dyadic influence such that youths’ experiences of discrimination may spill over to influence parents’ health,” Huynh said. “Children are an important part of a parent’s own social context, and parents’ concern about how their children are mistreated may have consequences for the parents’ well-being.”

The researchers focused on late adolescence and the transition to adulthood, in part because this developmental period in a person’s life is marked by increased stress and risky behaviors. They zeroed in on three key questions: To what extent does discrimination change over time for adolescents and their parents? Is discrimination related to mental health, physical health and substance use? And does discrimination spillover to affect the health of family members?

A total of 350 individuals, including 316 Southern California high schoolers and their families, took part in the study. The participants identified as Latin, Asian or European American.

Huynh noted that the study took place over the course of the five years before the 2016 presidential election, and before use of marijuana became legal in the state of California.

“I would be curious to see what the data would show today,” she said.

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HIGHER EDUCATION LINKS
LOCAL COLLEGE HEADLINES
Thursday, Aug 15, 2019
The second bond issuance of Measure E, the Santa Clarita Community College District general obligation bonds, were sold on Aug. 7, yielding $85 million to assist College of the Canyons in building out the Canyon Country campus and upgrading the Valencia campus.
Thursday, Aug 15, 2019
The College of the Canyons Art Gallery presents the exhibition “Carolyn Castaño: Delineando un Paisaje Femenio – Outlining a Female Landscape” just in time for National Hispanic Heritage Month.
Thursday, Aug 15, 2019
It is not too late to register for one of the more than 1,500 classes being offered during the College of the Canyons fall 2019 semester.
Monday, Aug 12, 2019
The August 14 agenda for the Santa Clarita Community College District's Board of Trustees business meeting has been posted.
Friday, Aug 9, 2019
Ending a decades-long connection, the association representing California State University faculty has severed its ties with the California Teachers Association, resulting in a significant loss in membership for the state’s largest teachers union.
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