Racism and Resilience: Ongoing Applications of Psychophysiological Methods
Monday, April 14, 2014
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Health disparities researchers have become interested in elucidating the mechanisms by which racism might influence health. One possibility is that psychological and behavioral responses to racism can lead to structural and functional changes in physiological systems (e.g., neuroendocrine, autonomic, and immune systems; Williams & Mohammed, 2009). Individual and situational factors also have been implicated in the racism-heath link. This presentation will highlight the use of cardiovascular psychophysiological methods as a tool for explaining individual differences in African Americans’ responses to racism. Recent studies in our laboratory focus on the interaction between racial and ethnic protective factors such as racial identity, racial socialization and Africentric worldview and situational characteristics such as the blatant versus subtle nature of racism events, as potential determinants of health outcomes in African African American young adults. We will discuss the implications of study findings for unpacking the racism-health link and for intervention efforts to address the potentially damaging health effects of racism.