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Discrimination and Social Anxiety Disorder Among African-Americans, Caribbean Blacks, and Non-Hispanic Whites

Levine, Debra Siegel PhD*; Himle, Joseph A. PhD†‡; Abelson, Jamie M. MSW§; Matusko, Niki MS§; Dhawan, Nikhil MD; Taylor, Robert Joseph PhD†§

The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease: March 2014 - Volume 202 - Issue 3 - p 224–230
doi: 10.1097/NMD.0000000000000099
Original Articles

The present study investigated the relationship between discrimination and social anxiety disorder (SAD) in a sample of African-Americans, Caribbean blacks, and non-Hispanic whites using the National Survey of American Life, the most comprehensive study of psychopathology among American blacks to date (N = 6082). Previous work has highlighted a strong association between discrimination and mental health symptoms (Keith, Lincoln, Taylor, and Jackson [Sex Roles 62:48–59, 2010]; Kessler, Mickelson, and Williams [J Health Soc Behav 40:208–230, 1999]; Soto, Dawson-Andoh, and BeLue [J Anxiety Disord 25:258–265, 2011]). However, few studies have examined the effects of particular types of discrimination on specific anxiety disorders or among different black subgroups. In this study, logistic regression analyses indicated that everyday but not major experiences of discrimination are associated with SAD for African-Americans, Caribbean blacks, and non-Hispanic whites. This study adds to the extant literature by demonstrating that specific types of discrimination may be uniquely associated with SAD for different ethnic/racial groups.

*Department of Psychology, †School of Social Work, ‡Department of Psychiatry, and §Institute for Social Research, University of Michigan – Ann Arbor, Ann Arbor, MI.

Send reprint requests to Debra Siegel Levine, PhD, Department of Psychology, University of Michigan – Ann Arbor, 500 S. State St., Ann Arbor, MI 48109. E-mail:

© 2014 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins