The association between discrimination and the health of Sikh Asian Indians

Sarah B. Nadimpalli, Charles M. Cleland, M. Katherine Hutchinson, Nadia Islam, Lisa L. Barnes, Nancy Van Devanter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: We investigated the relationships between self-reported discrimination (SRD) and mental and physical health (self-reported physical health conditions and direct, physiologic measures [BMI, waistto- hip ratio, and blood pressure]) among Sikh Asian Indians (AI), a group that may be particularly discriminated against because of physical manifestations of their faith, including a tendency to wear turbans or ethnic clothing. Methods: Sikh AIs (N = 196) were recruited from Sikh gurdwaras in Queens, New York. Data were collected on SRD, social support, and self-reported health, along with multiple direct physiological measures for cardiovascular health. Results: Participants who wore turbans/scarves reported higher levels of discrimination than those who did not wear turbans/scarves. As hypothesized, multiple regression analysis supported that discrimination is significantly associated with poorer selfreported mental (B = -.53, p < .001) and physical health (B = -.16, p = .04) while controlling for socioeconomic, acculturation, and social support factors. The study did not support an association between SRD and physiologic measures (elevated BMI, waist-to-hip ratio, and blood pressure). Conclusion: Consistent with previous discrimination and health reports, this study demonstrated an inverse relationship between discrimination and health among Sikh AIs, an understudied yet high-risk minority population. Community-based efforts are also needed to reduce the occurrence or buffer the effects of discrimination experienced by Sikh AIs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)351-355
Number of pages5
JournalHealth Psychology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2016


  • Discrimination
  • Health disparities
  • Health outcomes
  • Sikh Asian Indian

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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