Heavy is the Head of Children with Ghosts: The Intergenerational Effects of Discrimination on Child Behavior
Date of Submission
Campus Only Senior Thesis
Bachelor of Arts
W.M. Keck Science Department
Phil H Tran
Adverse health outcomes, as a result of systemic inequities, disproportionately impact communities of color. Discrimination, defined as unfair treatment based on the personal characteristics or group membership of an individual, has consistently been proven to be an important underlying factor contributing to these disparities (Viruell-Fuentes et al., 2012). Repeated encounters with discrimination can even program chronic overactivation of physiological stress response systems, leading to increased risk of disease and mortality (Miller et al., 2021).
This study aims to explore the intergenerational effects of discrimination on child social and psychological outcomes, including internalizing and externalizing behaviors, indicators of executive functioning and emotion regulation. While past studies have largely concentrated on infant biological outcomes, this study emphasizes child behavior while also analyzing cortisol, a biological marker of stress, to form a more holistic investigation regarding the intergenerational effects of discrimination.
It is hypothesized that perceived discrimination will have a moderating effect on problem behaviors and stress, where children of mothers that experience greater discrimination will similarly demonstrate greater internalizing and externalizing behaviors and display greater levels of cortisol. This study provides insight into the psychological and social effects of discrimination on children, highlighting the need for interventions to mitigate the negative impact of unfair treatment on health outcomes.
Tran, Phil, "Heavy is the Head of Children with Ghosts: The Intergenerational Effects of Discrimination on Child Behavior" (2023). CMC Senior Theses. 3229.
This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.