Prevalence and Correlates of Perceived Ethnic Discrimination in the Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos Sociocultural Ancillary Study

J Lat Psychol. 2015 Aug;3(3):160-176. doi: 10.1037/lat0000040. Epub 2015 Jun 8.


Empirical studies examining perceived ethnic discrimination in Latinos of diverse background groups are limited. This study examined prevalence and correlates of discrimination in a diverse sample of U.S. Latinos (N=5,291) from the multi-site Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos (HCHS/SOL) and HCHS/SOL Sociocultural Ancillary Study. The sample permitted an examination of differences across seven groups (Central American, Cuban, Dominican, Mexican, Puerto Rican, South American, and Other/Multiple Background). Most participants (79.5%) reported lifetime discrimination exposure and prevalence rates ranged from 64.9% to 98% across groups. Structural Equation Models (SEM) indicated that after adjusting for sociodemographic covariates most group differences in reports of discrimination were eliminated. However, Cubans reported the lowest levels of discrimination, overall among all groups. Furthermore, regional effects were more important than group effects. Participants from Chicago reported the highest levels of discrimination in comparison to other regions. Group differences among Latinos appear to be primarily a function of sociodemographic differences in education, income, and acculturation. In addition, differences in exposure to discrimination may be tied to variables associated with both immigration patterns and integration to U.S. culture. Results highlight the importance of considering historical context and the intersection of discrimination and immigration when evaluating the mental health of Latinos.

Keywords: Latinos; acculturation; ethnic discrimination; regional differences; within group differences.