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Characterizing Discrimination Experiences by Race among Homeless Adults

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Objectives: Among domiciled samples, racial discrimination is a known stressor linked with poorer quality of life. However, homeless adults may be particularly vulnerable to discrimination due to multiple factors beyond race. In this study, we characterized perceived discrimination and its reported impact on quality of life in a sample of adults who were homeless. Methods: Homeless adults recruited from Oklahoma City self-reported their socio-demographics, past discrimination experiences, and their impact on quality of life via the MacArthur Major Experiences of Discrimination Questionnaire. Descriptive statistics and frequencies were used to characterize perceived discrimination experiences and impact. Racial differences were examined using ANO- VAs/Kruskal-Wallis tests and chi-square tests. Results: Discrimination experiences attributed to homelessness were common and consistent between the races. Black adults perceived significantly more lifetime discrimination experiences than white adults, and attributed the majority to race. Relative to Whites and American Indians, black adults were more likely to endorse links between discrimination and having a harder life. Conclusions: Results suggest that black homeless adults may represent the most vulnerable racial subgroup for hardships in life as a conse- quence of perceived discrimination among homeless adults.
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Keywords: DISCRIMINATION; HEALTH DISPARITIES; HOMELESSNESS; MINORITY HEALTH; QUALITY OF LIFE; RACE

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: May 1, 2019

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  • The American Journal of Health Behavior seeks to improve the quality of life through multidisciplinary health efforts in fostering a better understanding of the multidimensional nature of both individuals and social systems as they relate to health behaviors.

    The Journal aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the impact of personal attributes, personality characteristics, behavior patterns, social structure, and processes on health maintenance, health restoration, and health improvement; to disseminate knowledge of holistic, multidisciplinary approaches to designing and implementing effective health programs; and to showcase health behavior analysis skills that have been proven to affect health improvement and recovery.

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