Funded by the William T. Grant Foundation and in collaboration with the Massachusetts General Hospital Center for Community Health Improvement and community coalitions in four Greater Boston communities, this Mass General Disparities Research Unit study harnesses youth perspectives to inform the development of community interventions that aim to improve adolescent behavioral health. This mixed methods study is built around Photovoice, a participatory research method through which participants document their understanding of a problem under study by taking photos and creating photo narratives.

Persistent stressors faced by minority youth have placed them at higher risk for behavioral health disorders, such as depression, anxiety, and suicidality, but little is known about the mechanisms underlying these inequalities and how they play out in communities. Using an innovative youth participatory strategy, the Disparities Research Unit team will examine how growing up as a member of a neighborhood’s minority or majority racial or ethnic group may affect behavioral health development through social exclusion or inclusion processes.


Aim 1: Identify if and how experiences of minority status compared to majority status might increase risk for negative behavioral health outcomes via their influence on social interactions and relationships in different neighborhood contexts

Aim 2: Collaborate with community and youth participants to generate information regarding possible solutions for the behavioral health disparities that can influence local policy and practice.

Aim 3: Utilize results of Aims 1 and 2 to collaboratively design an intervention to influence local policy and/or practice to reduce disparities in behavioral health for ethnic/racial minority youth.

Funding Acknowledgement

This study is supported by Research Grant 185355 (Understanding the Experience of Majority and Minority Status through Photovoice) funded by the William T. Grant Foundation.