Minority stress is a psychological phenomenon in which members of marginalized groups experience stress related to their minority status which puts them at greater risk of developing mental health conditions.
This stress may be due to factors such as experiences of discrimination, fear of discrimination, extra pressures to prove one's self, loneliness or isolation, and verbal or physical harassment.
Some groups who may experience minority stress include:
Racial or ethnic minorities
Sexual or gender minorities
For more information on these specific groups, check out our Intersectionality page.
Minority stress may contribute to symptoms of depression, such as low self worth, feelings of hopelessness, suicidal thoughts, or loneliness.
Some people may cope with stress or internalized contempt by resorting to addiction, whether that be a substance or process addiction.
Some people may cope with stress or other mental health problems by developing symptoms of an eating disorder. For example, internalized self-contempt may lead an individual to seek approval in other ways, such as through unhealthy eating habits, or to numb their pain through symptoms like binge eating.
Self-harm refers to a purposeful behavior that brings physical damage to the individual, such as cutting, hitting, biting, or burning one's self. Many people with this symptom develop it as a means to control painful emotions.
In more severe cases, someone may develop PTSD as the result of experiencing or witnessing a hate crime or another traumatic incident of discrimination. It is also possible for someone to be traumatized by an event that did not happen to them directly but happened to a family member or happened nearby, such as in their neighborhood.
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