Research Summary

Perceived discrimination is when an individual believes they are treated differently or unfairly because of their background or individual characteristics. Discrimination is a social determinant of health and wellbeing. It can have a profoundly negative effect on an individual's health, their family, and society more broadly. Freedom from discrimination is a basic human right; many current and past movements have worked to eliminate discrimination from society.

This snapshot reports the experiences of various types of perceived discrimination among Australian teenagers in the secondary school years. This is a period of rapid developmental changes, increased self-awareness and higher sensitivity towards peer approval. It addresses three main questions:

  1. How common is discrimination?
  2. Who is most at risk of discrimination?
  3. What are the impacts of discrimination on teenagers' mental wellbeing?

Key findings:

  • Discrimination is common among Australian teens.
  • Many teenagers experience discrimination on multiple grounds.
  • Body discrimination (due to body size, shape or physical appearance) is the most widespread type of discrimination among teens overall.
  • Among minority groups, rates of discrimination remain particularly high.
  • Females continue to report sex discrimination at a greater rate than males.
Publication Details
License type:
Access Rights Type:
Growing Up in Australia Snapshot Series, Issue 1