Published: October 9, 2018

Download: Life Course Centre Working Paper: 2018-19


Leah Cave, Carrington Shepherd, Matthew Cooper, and Stephen Zubrick.

Non-Technical Summary:

Racism has been shown to impact on the health of minority populations worldwide, acting through both direct experiences of interpersonal racism and unequal access to social resources. This is particularly the case for Indigenous populations internationally, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander populations in Australia.

Currently, most research looking at the relationship between racism and health has been focused on adults, even though children have been found to be more vulnerable to the negative effects of racism. Very few studies have examined the impact of racism on children’s health across time, limiting our understanding of how experiences of racism change health outcomes as children age.

This study looked at the frequency of racism experiences over time in a population of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and checked to see which factors might increase the risk of a child experiencing racism in Australia today. We found that direct and vicarious racism is commonly experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and that these experiences often occur in the first years of life. Children were more at risk of experiencing racism by age 11 if they lived in remote or more disadvantaged areas and if they spoke an Aboriginal language.


October 9, 2018