Adverse Health Effects Trickle Down to the Partners of Victims of Discrimination

A new study led by William Chopik, an assistant professor of psychology at Michigan State University, finds that discrimination can not only harm the health of individual who was the victim of the discrimination, but can also affect the health of the spouse or romantic partner of the victim.

Researchers examined the health of nearly 2,000 couples and their experiences with discrimination. They found that victims of discrimination had poorer health, were more likely to be depressed, and more likely to experience strains in their relationship. The study found that the type of discrimination was not a factor.

The study also found the partners of victims or discrimination also experienced negative health consequences. Dr. Chopix stated that “we found that a lot of the harmful effects of discrimination on health occurs because it’s so damaging to our relationships. When one partner experiences discrimination, they bring that stress home with them and it strains the relationship. So this stress not only negatively affects their own health, but their partner’s as well.”

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