Discrimination and Psychological Adjustment Amongst Australian Children from Middle-Eastern and Asian Backgrounds

Document Type

Journal Article


Australian Psychological Society's College of Community Psychologists


Faculty of Computing, Health and Science


School of Psychology and Social Science




Runions, K., Priest, N., & Dandy, J. (2011). Discrimination and psychological adjustment amongst Australian children from Middle-Eastern and Asian backgrounds. Australian Community Psychologist, 23(1), 23-33. Available here


The present study explored prevalence of experiences of discrimination amongst Australian children from Middle-Eastern and Asian (ME-A) backgrounds and examined the relationship of such experiences to their psychosocial adjustment. Child and parentreport questionnaires were completed for 47 families from ME-A backgrounds regarding experiences of discrimination and adjustment for children aged 7-15 years. Perceived discrimination (PD) was assessed using the Everyday Discrimination Scale (EDS); and psychosocial adjustment was assessed via the Social Behaviour Questionnaire (SBQ). Over eighty-five percent of participating children reported discrimination, with 37.5% reporting five or more events. PD was linearly related to withdrawn social behaviours, greater emotional problems, and indirect aggression. This exploratory study provides strong initial evidence that experiences of discrimination are associated with impaired psychosocial functioning amongst Australian children of ME-A ethnic groups. Discussion focuses on the importance of, and lessons for, research with ME-A communities. Both moral and public health concerns point to the need for anti-racist action and support for affected children.

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