Report: Latino children in states with anti-immigrant sentiment developing mental health issues
The results of the study suggest that inequities do in fact affect the health of the children by causing chronic stress and depriving them of the resources needed to support their mental health
August 16, 2023 8:38am
Updated: August 16, 2023 9:00am
Latino children that live in states with harsher anti-immigration policies and attitudes are more likely to develop chronic physical health and mental health conditions, according to a new study published on Tuesday.
According to the study, published in the Journal of Pediatrics, Latino children in places with more anti-immigration sentiment and higher inequities had higher odds of developing physical health conditions, such as respiratory illnesses and obesity, and mental health conditions.
The study defined inequities as prejudicial attitudes and rhetoric directed towards minorities, and laws that exclude certain groups of individuals from obtaining employment, health services, housing, and education.
The researchers then ranked the states depending on their inequities score. States that were found to have the highest inequities included Alaska, Alabama, and Nebraska.
To conduct the study, researchers used nationally representative data from the National Survey of Children’s Health of 17,855 Latino children aged 3 to 17. The data, dating from 2016 to 2020, included any health difficulties, chronic physical conditions, and current mental health conditions found in the children, which were translated into a “health score.”
Researchers compared the health scores to the inequities score given to each state to find if there was any correlation between the two.
The results of the study suggest that inequities do in fact affect the health of the children by causing chronic stress and depriving them of the resources needed to support their mental health, reported CNN.
On the contrary, children in Latino communities with a safety net around them and more open immigration policies tend to have better health.
“Our hope is that these findings can inform future studies to identify macro-level approaches to address health inequities,” said Dr. Natalie Slopen, lead study researcher and assistant professor in the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.