Objective: To explore the associations between self-reported racism and health and wellbeing outcomes for young Aboriginal Australian people.
Design, setting and participants: A cross-sectional study of 345 Aboriginal Australians aged 16–20 years who, as participants in the prospective Aboriginal Birth Cohort Study, were recruited at birth between 1987 and 1990 and followed up between 2006 and 2008.
Main outcome measures: Self-reported social and emotional wellbeing using a questionnaire validated as culturally appropriate for the study’s participants; recorded body mass index and waist-to-hip ratio.
Results: Self-reported racism was reported by 32% of study participants. Racism was significantly associated with anxiety (odds ratio [OR], 2.18 [95% CI, 1.37–3.46]); depression (OR, 2.16 [95% CI, 1.33–3.53]); suicide risk (OR, 2.32 [95% CI, 1.25–4.00]); and poor overall mental health (OR, 3.35 [95% CI, 2.04–5.51]). No significant associations were found between self-reported racism and resilience or any anthropometric measures.
Conclusions: Self-reported racism was associated with poor social and emotional wellbeing outcomes, including anxiety, depression, suicide risk and poor overall mental health.