Racism-Related Vigilance and Sleep Quality: Pathways Linking Discrimination and Depression among Latinos
Pichardo, Catherine Melissa
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Mental health disparities exist between Latina/o students and their non-Latina/o white counterparts, with Latina/o students experiencing higher rates of mental health problems. Mounting evidence suggests that discrimination partly accounts for mental health disparities among people of color. Two mechanisms posited to link discrimination experiences to poor mental health are discrimination-related vigilance and poor sleep. However, very few studies have investigated potential mechanisms by which discrimination may impact mental health, especially among Latina/o college students. To fill in this gap, the current study examined the mediating role of racism-related vigilance and sleep-related factors (i.e. sleep quality, sleep efficiency) on the relationship between perceived discrimination and depressive symptomatology. We utilized data (n=194) of Latina/o college students enrolled at an urban, Midwestern university. Path analysis revealed that racism-related vigilance and sleep quality (but not sleep efficiency) sequentially mediated the effect of perceived discrimination on depressive symptomology. Notably, the current study is amongst the first to document that social marginalization negatively impacts mental health through both cognitive and behavioural mechanisms. Latina/o students comprise approximately 19% of the undergraduate student body and are the fastest growing segment of the U.S.’ college population, this research has wide-ranging implications for understanding the mental health costs of discrimination, and in turn, the educational, economic and societal costs across the life-span for Latina/o students.
SubjectLatina/o Discrimination Racism-Related Vigilance Sleep