Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

For young African-Americans, emotional support buffers biological toll of racial discrimination

Date:
February 3, 2014
Source:
Society for Research in Child Development
Summary:
A new study has found that African-American youth who report experiencing frequent discrimination during adolescence are at risk for developing chronic diseases like heart disease in later years. The study, which looked at 331 rural youth living in Georgia, found that emotional support from parents and peers can protect from the effects of allostatic load -- biological wear and tear due to exposure to repeated stress.

African American youth who report experiencing frequent discrimination during adolescence are at risk for developing heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and stroke in later years, according to a new study.

Related Articles


The study also found that emotional support from parents and peers can protect African American youth from stress-related damage to their bodies and health.

The study, by researchers at the University of Georgia and Emory University, appears in the journal Child Development.

African American 20-year-olds who had reported frequent discrimination during adolescence experienced high levels of allostatic load -- the biological wear and tear on the body due to exposure to repeated stress -- placing them at risk for chronic diseases as they grow older, the study found.

"In the past, health professionals have believed that chronic diseases of aging such as heart disease originate in middle age, shortly before the appearance of symptoms, but our research shows that these illnesses originate much earlier, beginning in childhood and adolescence," notes Gene H. Brody, Regents' Professor and Director of the Center for Family Research at the University of Georgia, who led the study.

Researchers collected information from 331 African American youth living in rural Georgia in small towns where poverty is among the highest in the nation and unemployment rates are above the national average. The youth, part of the Strong African American Families Healthy Adolescent Project (SHAPE), were surveyed when they were 16, 17, 18, and 20 years old, to measure the racial discrimination they experienced and the emotional support they received from parents and peers. When the youth were 20, researchers determined their allostatic load by measuring blood pressure, body mass index, and levels of stress-related hormones in the urine. High allostatic load can lead to chronic diseases like high blood pressure, heart problems, diabetes, and stroke.

Parents also reported on how much emotional support they gave their sons and daughters by using a scale of 1 (not true at all) to 5 (very true) to respond to a number of statements (such as "If my child needs help with school or work, she/he can ask me about it").

The researchers found that although the stress with which African Americans live as they grow to young adulthood places them at risk for future illness, emotionally supportive relationships both inside and outside the family can short-circuit the progression to disease. African American adolescents who experienced greater racial discrimination and didn't receive emotional support from parents and peers had the highest levels of allostatic load of those studied. Adolescents who got emotional support didn't show the biological effects of racial discrimination.

"This is vital information for those who provide care to rural African American youth," says Brody. "The information is also important for public health professionals as they design interventions to prevent chronic diseases of aging among African Americans, and for policymakers as they seek to decrease race-based health discrepancies."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Society for Research in Child Development. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Society for Research in Child Development. "For young African-Americans, emotional support buffers biological toll of racial discrimination." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 February 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140203084234.htm>.
Society for Research in Child Development. (2014, February 3). For young African-Americans, emotional support buffers biological toll of racial discrimination. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 27, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140203084234.htm
Society for Research in Child Development. "For young African-Americans, emotional support buffers biological toll of racial discrimination." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140203084234.htm (accessed March 27, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Friday, March 27, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

AAA: Distracted Driving a Serious Teen Problem

AAA: Distracted Driving a Serious Teen Problem

AP (Mar. 25, 2015) While distracted driving is not a new problem for teens, new research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety says it&apos;s much more serious than previously thought. (March 25) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Smartphone Use Changing Our Brain and Thumb Interaction, Say Researchers

Smartphone Use Changing Our Brain and Thumb Interaction, Say Researchers

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Mar. 25, 2015) European researchers say our smartphone use offers scientists an ideal testing ground for human brain plasticity. Dr Ako Ghosh&apos;s team discovered that the brains and thumbs of smartphone users interact differently from those who use old-fashioned handsets. Jim Drury went to meet him. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Many Don't Know They Have Alzheimer's, But Their Doctors Do

Many Don't Know They Have Alzheimer's, But Their Doctors Do

Newsy (Mar. 24, 2015) According to a new study by the Alzheimer&apos;s Association, more than half of those who have the degenerative brain disease aren&apos;t told by their doctors. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
A Quick 45-Minute Nap Can Improve Your Memory

A Quick 45-Minute Nap Can Improve Your Memory

Newsy (Mar. 23, 2015) Researchers found those who napped for 45 minutes to an hour before being tested on information recalled it five times better than those who didn&apos;t. 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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

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