Objective To assess the prevalence of and associated factors with self-reported discrimination among adolescents.
Methods Cross-sectional analyses were carried out with data from the Brazilian 1993 Pelotas Birth Cohort Study. Of the 5249 live born children, data on self-reported discrimination, socio-demographic factors and physical attributes were collected on 4452 adolescents interviewed in 2004–2005. Poisson regression was used in crude and adjusted analyses to estimate prevalence ratios (PR).
Results The prevalence of self-reported discrimination attributed to any reason was 16.3%. In adjusted analyses, discrimination was more likely to be reported by girls (PR=1.27, 95% CI 1.27 to 1.48); interviewer-classified blacks (PR=1.28, 95% CI 1.28 to 1.57); poor respondents (PR=1.58, 95% CI 1.23 to 2.02); those who perceived themselves as very thin or very fat (RP=1.81 and 1.54, respectively); with family economic problems (PR=1.76, 95% CI 1.49 to 2.08); wearing glasses (PR=1.74, 95% CI 1.45 to 2.10); with worse self-perceived dental appearance (PR=1.58, 95% CI 1.21 to 2.07); with school flunking (PR=1.23, 95% CI 1.01 to 1.51) or aggressive behaviour (PR=1.62, 95% CI 1.36 to 1.94). The association between self-reported discrimination and nutrition status (using BMI-for-age z-score) varied according to sex (p for interaction=0.009). Thin boys were more likely to report discrimination (PR=1.94, 95% CI 1.05 to 3.56), while overweight and obese ones showed lower prevalence (PR=0.65 and 0.67, respectively). Higher prevalence of discrimination was observed in obese girls (PR=1.54, 95% CI 1.12 to 2.10), and this effect was stronger among wealthiest than in the poorest females (PR=2.14 and 1.48, respectively; p for interaction 0.083).
Conclusions Self-reported discrimination was prevalent, and unevenly distributed among the population. Interventions to reduce discriminatory experiences should be implemented in early stages of the life cycle.
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