Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Links between racial discrimination, stress and health

Date:
September 14, 2011
Source:
Springer Science+Business Media
Summary:
The consequences of psychological stress, resulting from racial discrimination, may contribute to racial health disparities in conditions such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes and other age-associated diseases.

Findings identify potential cellular pathways by which racial discrimination may amplify cardiovascular and other age-related health problems

The consequences of psychological stress, resulting from racial discrimination, may contribute to racial health disparities in conditions such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes and other age-associated diseases. This is according to analyses of data from the epidemiologic study Healthy Aging in Neighborhoods of Diversity across the Life Span (HANDLS), conducted by the National Institute on Aging (NIA), National Institutes of Health.

Dr. Sarah Szanton from Johns Hopkins University, who collaborated with scientists from the NIA and University of California, San Francisco, in the US, put forward a new hypothesis to elucidate racial differences in disease prevalence: African-Americans who suffer psychologically from racial discrimination have higher levels of oxidative stress* in their bodies. Their study is published online in Springer's International Journal of Behavioral Medicine.

The psychological stress of racial discrimination is thought to be one of the factors that explain racial health disparities, for conditions such as high blood pressure, obesity, cardiovascular problems, poor self-reported health and premature disease-related disability. There is some evidence that psychological stress increases oxidative stress.

Szanton and NIH investigators hypothesized that if oxidative stress is causally associated with a psychological stressor such as racial discrimination, then disparities in psychological stress might help explain some of these health disparities.

To test their hypothesis, the authors looked, for the first time, at whether there was a link between reports of racial discrimination and red blood cell oxidative stress among 629 participants enrolled in HANDLS. Researchers measured oxidative stress by determining the level of degradation products in red blood cells and assessed racial discrimination by asking participants how much prejudice, or discrimination, they had experienced because of their race.

Overall, African Americans reported more racial discrimination than Whites and more oxidative stress originating from their red blood cells as measured by a novel marker. In addition, African Americans who reported suffering from racial discrimination had higher levels of oxidative stress than those who had not experienced prejudice. Discrimination was not linked to levels of oxidative stress in Whites.

The authors conclude: "This is a preliminary report of an association between racial discrimination and oxidative stress. It is a first step to understanding whether there is a relationship between the two. Our findings suggest that there may be identifiable cellular pathways by which racial discrimination amplifies cardiovascular and other age-related disease risks. If increased red blood cell oxidative stress is associated with experiencing racial discrimination in African Americans, this could be one reason that many age-associated chronic disease have a higher prevalence in this group."

*Oxidative stress is the process by which free radicals, or reactive oxygen species, damage cellular components including DNA, proteins and lipids.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Springer Science+Business Media. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Sarah L. Szanton, Joseph M. Rifkind, Joy G. Mohanty, Edgar R. Miller, Roland J. Thorpe, Eneka Nagababu, Elissa S. Epel, Alan B. Zonderman, Michele K. Evans. Racial Discrimination Is Associated with a Measure of Red Blood Cell Oxidative Stress: A Potential Pathway for Racial Health Disparities. International Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 2011; DOI: 10.1007/s12529-011-9188-z

Cite This Page:

Springer Science+Business Media. "Links between racial discrimination, stress and health." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 September 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110914122315.htm>.
Springer Science+Business Media. (2011, September 14). Links between racial discrimination, stress and health. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 27, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110914122315.htm
Springer Science+Business Media. "Links between racial discrimination, stress and health." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110914122315.htm (accessed August 27, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Have You Ever Been 'Sleep Drunk?' 1 in 7 Has

Have You Ever Been 'Sleep Drunk?' 1 in 7 Has

Newsy (Aug. 26, 2014) A study published in the journal "Neurology" interviewed more than 19,000 people and found 15 percent suffer from being "sleep drunk." Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Does Medical Marijuana Reduce Painkiller Overdose Deaths?

Does Medical Marijuana Reduce Painkiller Overdose Deaths?

Newsy (Aug. 26, 2014) A new study found fewer deaths from prescription drug overdoses in states that have legalized medical marijuana. But experts disagree on the results. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Heart Group: E-Cigarettes May Help Smokers Quit

Heart Group: E-Cigarettes May Help Smokers Quit

AP (Aug. 25, 2014) The American Heart Association's first policy statement on electronic cigarettes backs them as a last resort to help smokers quit and calls for more regulation to keep them away from youth. (Aug. 25) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctors Push For Later Start Times As School Year Kicks Off

Doctors Push For Later Start Times As School Year Kicks Off

Newsy (Aug. 25, 2014) The American Academy of Pediatrics is the latest group pushing for middle schools and high schools to start later, for the sake of their kids. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

    Technology News



    Save/Print:
    Share:

    Free Subscriptions


    Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

    Get Social & Mobile


    Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

    Have Feedback?


    Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
    Mobile: iPhone Android Web
    Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
    Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
    Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins