Prejudice as stress: conceptual and measurement problems

Am J Public Health. 2003 Feb;93(2):262-5. doi: 10.2105/ajph.93.2.262.


In the field of social sciences, there has been a renewed interest in studying prejudice and discrimination as stressors and assessing their impact on various health outcomes. This raises a need for theoretically based and psychometrically sound measures of prejudice. As researchers approach this task, there are several conceptual issues that need to be addressed. The author describes 3 such issues related to (1) individual versus structural measures of the impact of prejudice, (2) objective versus subjective assessments of stress, and (3) measures of major events versus everyday discrimination. How researchers approach the problem of measurement depends on the specific study aims, but they must consider these conceptual issues and understand the advantages and limitations of various approaches to the study of prejudice as stress.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Classification
  • Ethnic Groups / psychology*
  • Evaluation Studies as Topic
  • Health Status*
  • Humans
  • Mental Health
  • Prejudice*
  • Psychometrics / methods*
  • Risk Factors
  • Stress, Psychological / ethnology*
  • Stress, Psychological / etiology