Racial Discrimination and Interpersonal Violence in Asian American Adolescents During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Yu Lu, Elizabeth Baumler, Leila Wood, Vi D. Le, Shannon P. Guillot-Wright, Jeff R. Temple

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: Racial discrimination targeting Asians in the United States has increased sharply since the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite a well-established link with mental/physical health outcomes, little is known about how racial discrimination relates to interpersonal violence, particularly in adolescents. To address this gap in knowledge, we examined cross-sectional and longitudinal (1-year follow-up) associations between racial discrimination and interpersonal violence perpetration and victimization in Asian American adolescents in a large US city. Methods: Data from Waves 3 (2020) and 4 (2021) of a randomized clinical trial of a school-based violence prevention program were examined. We limited our sample to participants who identified as Asian American (n = 344; 48.3% female; Meanage = 14.6 years at Wave 3). Results: At Wave 3, 26.5% of the adolescents reported experiencing some form of racial discrimination, including 18.3% experiencing verbal harassment due to race and 16.0% reporting inequitable treatment due to race. Relative to their nonvictimized counterparts, adolescents who experienced racial discrimination were more likely to report being a victim of bullying and teen dating violence cross-sectionally and being a bullying victim longitudinally. Moreover, those who experienced racial discrimination reported more bullying and teen dating violence perpetration concurrently, as well as more dating violence perpetration 1 year later. Discussion: In the understudied population of Asian American adolescents, we found that experiencing racial discrimination contributes to both interpersonal violence victimization and perpetration. Youth violence prevention could include strategies addressing racial discrimination.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)246-251
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Adolescent Health
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2024


  • Asian American adolescents
  • Interpersonal violence
  • Racial discrimination

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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