Published: October 10, 2018


A new Life Course Centre Working Paper represents one of the first studies internationally on the impact of racism on children’s health across time.

Currently, most research looking at the relationship between racism and health has been focused on adults. Very few studies have examined how racism impacts on children’s health over time, thereby limiting understanding of how experiences of racism change health outcomes as children age.

The Working Paper, ‘Prevalence of Racial Discrimination in a Cohort of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children,’ was authored by Leah Cave, Carrington Shepherd, Matthew Cooper and Stephen Zubrick, all of the Telethon Kids Institute and The University of Western Australia.

This study used longitudinal data to examine the prevalence of racism experiences in a population of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children. It found that both direct and vicarious forms of racism are commonly experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and that these experiences often occur in the first years of life. It also found that children were more at risk of experiencing racism by the age of 11 if they lived in remote or more disadvantaged areas and if they spoke an Aboriginal language.

Understanding the prevalence of racial discrimination and sociodemographic factors associated with increased risk of exposure to racism during childhood are important first steps to developing meaningful insights into racial disparities between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal children in Australia, the paper concludes.

You can read the full Working Paper here.