STUDIO CITY (CBSLA) — A new study finds the growing incidence of displays of discrimination can be associated with negative outcomes in teens, including increased drug use, depression and behavioral disorders, among others.
The study out of the University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine looked at self-reported data collected from over 2,500 adolescent students from 10 schools across Los Angeles County. Survey questions sought to find information about “increasing hostility and discrimination of people because of their race, ethnicity, sexual orientation/identity, immigrant status, religion, or disability status in society.”
Eleven percent of respondents had higher odds of depression, while 12 percent had greater chances of attention-deficit and hyperactivity disorders.
“Appreciable numbers of students reported feeling very or extremely concerned […], worried […], or stressed […] about increasing societal discrimination,” the authors concluded. Students reported smoking more cigarettes and consuming marijuana, alcohol and other substances from 2016 to 2017.
At the beginning of 2016, 29.7 percent of the respondents reported feeling extremely worried about societal discrimination. A year later, the percentage was 34.7. In the same span of time, only eight more students reported being stressed.
The authors pointed out that during this time, Donald Trump became president, and his policies, including his plan to implement a Muslim ban and the proposed wall on the Mexican border, “may have heightened concern” about growing discrimination.
The smoking, specifically, increased more for Black and Latino students.
The authors said that although “some of the associations were of small magnitude,” the trend may pose a risk to public health.
The study was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Pediatrics.