It's a well known fact that discrimination is an unpleasant experience. Turns out the issue has a deeper damage among those who experience it, whether the person is the victim or not. A recent study from the University of Florida says racial discrimination may affect health.
Experts explored cases of hypertension, which is more predominant in African-Americans. They learned that discrimination is connected to hereditary variations that may be altering blood pressure.
"We’ve been missing a huge factor in explaining racial disparities in disease,” said Mulligan, co-author of the new study online today
in PLOS ONE. “Our finding of an interaction between genetics and environment could explain why it’s been so hard to identify all the risk factors for complex diseases, particularly those that have racial disparities. You have to look at genetics and environment in the same study if you’re investigating complex diseases like hypertension, certain kinds of cancer and psychological disorders.”
The researchers combined anthropological information, where they interviewed 157 African-Americans, with estimations of 30,000 hereditary variations and measures of hereditary lineage.
Using the gathered data, researchers learned that discrimination could trigger certain variants of a person's genes which result in a change in blood pressure.
Furthermore, researchers said that discrimination from the participant's family members or close friends has a significant impact.
Second hand discrimination also affects the health of people. Hearing depressing stories of racist experiences may also initiate bad effects on health to those who are receiving the information.
Individuals who experience discrimination have tendencies to keep the experiences to their self, thinking they have more control over it than the people they can be sharing it with.
“People may also be reluctant to report personal experiences of discrimination to avoid the stigma, and denial may itself be a coping mechanism,” Mulligan said “It’s also likely effects of vicarious unfair treatment may be even greater, since the study did not include events that one hears through the news, such as an act of racial violence.”