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Study: Racism can lead to poor mental health, depression

Cornel West, second from left, walks in a march against racism and injustice before the Republican National Convention, Saturday, July 16, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

PHOENIX — Racism can lead to severe anxiety and depression over a lifetime, a study said.

The study from the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom is believed to be the first to document the cumulative impact of racism and discrimination over a person’s lifetime.

“[Racism] creates doubt,” Dr. Jon McCaine, a psychologist who works for Bayless Healthcare in Phoenix, said.

“[Racism] creates uncertainty, it creates depression and can lead to a number of unhealthy responses,” he continued.

McCaine conducted research years ago that demonstrated a similar theme and said he sees evidence of its findings in his own work with minority and LGBTQ patients.

“I actually was involved in a research project 20 years ago that looked at the connections between racial and gender identity and level of anxiety and stress and depression,” he said. “And there’s a clear connection.”

The research used the ethnicity sample of Understanding Society, an annual research study conducted in the U.K., to examine research questions with participants over time. This allowed researchers to add up all racial discrimination people experienced across five years to find out whether these were associated with changes in mental health.

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