October 04, 2007

Mislabeling Indians causes stress

New Sociological Research Shows Mistaken Racial Identification Causes Emotional StrainTroyer and Campbell analyzed data collected between 1994 and 2002 for the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, which included both the self-reported racial identification of the young adults in the study and the racial identity assigned by an observer.

They found that more than a third of the American Indian youth in the nationally representative sample were mis-labeled by an observer as members of another racial group, while less than 5 percent of white, Black, and Asian participants in the study were identified incorrectly.

Among the American Indians in the study who were misidentified, 13 percent reported thinking about suicide, compared to only 6 percent of those who were identified correctly. Three percent of the misidentified young people had attempted suicide, while 1 percent who were identified correctly had done so. The misidentified young people were also more likely to be seeing a counselor or therapist (8 percent to 5 percent). They also found that mis-classified American Indians were more likely to participate in organizations that emphasize racial and ethnic identity, perhaps creating connections that help deal with the stress.
Pictured below:  Not a black or Latino child.

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