Recent conversations in the United States have centered on discrimination issues; yet, little is known about how discrimination affects youths’ mental health and their willingness to help others. Now, University of Missouri researchers found Latino immigrant youth who reported feeling discriminated against had more depressive symptoms and were less likely to perform altruistic behaviors six months and a year after experiencing discrimination.

For the study, 302 Latino immigrants between the ages of 13 and 17 completed three questionnaires over the course of a year about discrimination experiences, mental health and prosocial behaviors, such as volunteering or helping others. The youth had lived in the United States for five years or less. The study controlled for the teens’ previous levels of depression and involvement in helping behaviors in order to observe changes over time.

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