Associations Between Direct and Indirect Forms of Racism Exposure and Stress-Induced Inflammatory Response and Health in Pregnancy

Danyelle Dawson, Sherryl H. Goodman, Douglas A. Granger, Heidemarie Laurent

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

Theory and research suggest chronic direct and indirect exposures to racism impact health, and stress-responsive inflammation may play a role in these paths. This study examines links between forms of racism-related stress, salivary markers of inflammation during acute psychosocial stress, and perinatal mental and physical health in a racially heterogenous sample. Pregnant people (n = 108, 27% non-white) self-reported personal and vicarious exposure to racism (racial microaggressions, online racism, overt racial/ethnic discrimination) and racial collective self-esteem, as well as affective symptoms and general physical health. Five saliva samples collected before and after the Trier Social Stress Test were assayed for pro-inflammatory cytokines and C-reactive protein. Results revealed associations between racism-related stress and greater inflammatory reactivity/delayed recovery to acute stress, between racial collective self-esteem and lower levels of inflammation, and between profiles of inflammatory responses to stress and mental and physical symptoms. We discuss implications for understanding perinatal health disparities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2641-2652
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities
Volume10
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health(social science)
  • Anthropology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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