Donald Trump‘s America might be harming the mental health of teens, especially minorities, a new study suggests.
Fear of discrimination became more common among Los Angeles-area teenagers between the 2016 election and the months following Trump’s presidential inauguration in 2017, researchers found.
Trump’s proposed U.S.-Mexico border wall, his travel ban largely targeting Muslim countries, and the immigration crackdown under his watch appear to be contributing to a climate of fear among adolescents, said lead researcher Adam Leventhal. He’s a professor and psychologist with the University of Southern California’s Keck School of Medicine.
As that anxiety increased, teens became more likely to turn to cigarettes, marijuana or alcohol as a means of coping, according to findings published Monday in the journal JAMA Pediatrics.
“How concerned they were about discrimination in society was associated with an acceleration in their risk of substance use, and was associated with increased odds of depression symptoms and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder symptoms,” Leventhal said.
But the study did not prove a cause-and-effect relationship.
Regular news of police shootings and the protests they spark may also be contributing to the feeling that America has become a hostile place to live, he added.
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