Discrimination & Stigma: Antecedents & Impacts on Diverse Populations in the U.S

Thursday, January 15, 2015: 1:30 PM-3:15 PM
Balconies I, Fourth Floor (New Orleans Marriott)
Cluster: Race, Ethnicity, and Immigration
Symposium Organizer:
David Becerra, PhD, Arizona State University
Diverse populations, including Latinos, immigrants, Asians, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) identified people have increased in size and visibility in the United States (Shields et al., 2012; U.S. Census Bureau, 2012).  The growth in the proportion of diverse groups often leads to an increase in the likelihood of experiencing discrimination (Gee et al., 2006).  Similarly, negative discourses about minority populations can become pervasive in the media and general public causing members of diverse populations to internalize stigmatizing messages about their group.  As such, many minority populations encounter discrimination from multiple sources, which can negatively impact physical and mental health (Ding & Hargraves, 2009). 

Social workers must understand factors that contribute to the formation of prejudicial attitudes which lead to discrimination, and how discrimination can negatively impact diverse populations including U.S. born and immigrant Latinos, Asians, and LGBT individuals.  To this end, this symposium addresses three areas: 1) examination and identification of factors associated with the development of prejudicial attitudes from the majority population; 2) examination and identification of factors associated with the development of internalized discrimination and stigma from within a vulnerable population; and 3) how discrimination and stigma can negatively impact the health and wellbeing of diverse populations.

The first paper in the symposium draws from a nationally representative sample of adults in the U.S. (n=1,005) to examine factors associated with anti-immigrant sentiment.  The results indicate that participants who perceived immigrants as threats to the majority group’s values, beliefs, norms, and worldview were significantly more likely to have unfavorable attitudes toward immigrants. 

The second paper used an intersectional framework to examine the relationship between identity-specific external stigma and internal stigma among a sample of self-identified Latino and gay, bisexual, or transgender (GBT) individuals. Two dimensions of GBT stigma and racial stigma were assessed: experienced and internalized. Findings suggest that the relationship between experiences of GBT and Latino discrimination are intersectional.

The third paper examines the longitudinal relationship between discrimination and depressive symptoms in a sample of Vietnamese and Cambodian youth and their mothers, as well as group invariance in these relationships by ethnicity, gender, and nativity. Accounting for prior levels of depressive symptoms to address issues of causal ordering, results indicate experienced discrimination among the youth was significantly related to increased depressive symptoms.

The fourth paper informed by six focus groups (n=108) examined the discrimination Latino immigrants experience within a social determinants of health framework.  Participants indicated that as a result of the recent anti-immigrant discourse, policies, and enforcement strategies, they experience discrimination in a number of contexts in their everyday lives which impact the health outcomes of their family.

This symposium disseminates research findings on important issues facing diverse communities such as U.S. born and immigrant Latinos, Asians, and GBT individuals.  Symposium participants will gain deeper understanding of factors that contribute to the formation of prejudicial attitudes which lead to discrimination, and how discrimination can impact Latinos, immigrants, Asians, and GBT populations.

* noted as presenting author
Examining Predictors of Anti-Immigrant Sentiment in the U.S
Elizabeth Kiehne, MSW, Arizona State University; David Becerra, PhD, Arizona State University
Exploring Intersectional Relationships Between Experiences of Racial and Gbt (Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) External and Internalized Discrimination
Jaime Booth, PhD, University of Pittsburgh; M. Alex Wagaman, PhD, Virginia Commonwealth University
Depressive Symptoms Among Vietnamese and Cambodian Youth: The Effect of Discrimination Experiences
Cindy C. Sangalang, PhD, Arizona State University; Tracy W. Harachi, PhD, University of Washington
Immigration Policies and Discrimination within the Framework of Social Determinants of Health
Maria A. Gurrola, PhD, New Mexico State University; Cecilia Ayón, PhD, Arizona State University
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