Racism and the Physical and Mental Health Status of African-Americans: A 13-Year National Panel Study

Institute for Social Research, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor 48106-1248, USA.
Ethnicity & disease (Impact Factor: 1). 12/1996; 6(1-2):132-47.
Source: PubMed


This paper examined the relationships between the experiences and perceptions of racism and the physical and mental health status of African Americans. The study was based upon thirteen year (1979 to 1992), four wave, national panel data (n = 623) from the National Survey of Black Americans. Personal experiences of racism were found to have both adverse and salubrious immediate and cumulative effects on the physical and mental well-being of African Americans. In 1979-80, reports of poor treatment due to race were inversely related to subjective well-being and positively associated with the number of reported physical health problems. Reports of negative racial encounters over the 13-year period were weakly predictive of poor subjective well-being in 1992. A more general measure of racial beliefs, perceiving that whites want to keep blacks down, was found to be related to poorer physical health in 1979-80, better physical health in 1992, and predicted increased psychological distress, as well as, lower levels of subjective well-being in 1992. In conclusion, the authors suggested future research on possible factors contributing to the relationship between racism and health status among African Americans.


Available from: Tony N. Brown, Aug 17, 2015
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    • "Both black males and females experience racial discrimination (e.g. Jackson et al., 1996). Moreover, although research on offending among African American females is relatively sparse (e.g. "
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    ABSTRACT: Evidence is accumulating that interpersonal racial discrimination is criminogenic and ethnic-racial socialization (ERS) practices provide resilience. This research, however, has largely focused on black males. We address this gap by exploring these risk and resilience processes among black females. Drawing on Simons and Burt’s social schematic theory and research on adaptive cultural practices in African American families, this study investigates how interpersonal racial discrimination increases the risks of crime among females and whether familial ERS provides resilience. After focusing on females, we also compare the findings among females to those for males to shed light on gender differences. We examine these questions using panel data from the Family and Community Health Study, a survey of black families first surveyed in 1999 and at roughly two-year intervals thereafter. Consistent with prior work, we find a strong effect of racial discrimination on an increase in crime, with the bulk of this effect being mediated by the criminogenic knowledge structure. Although one of the two forms of ERS examined—cultural socialization—did not reduce the criminogenic effects of racial discrimination, preparation for bias exerted a strong protective effect. Comparing the findings to that for males revealed that preparation for bias attenuated the criminogenic effects of racial discrimination for both males and females, but it did so in gendered ways. This study fills a gap in our understanding of the criminogenic effects of discrimination among black females, supporting a social schematic theory’s explanation of the effects of racial discrimination on crime. In addition, findings highlight protective cultural practices in African American families, especially preparation for bias.
    Justice Quarterly 04/2015; 32(3):532-570. DOI:10.1080/07418825.2013.781205 · 1.63 Impact Factor
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    • "The research has found its link with weak mental health, physical illnesses, poorer academic achievements, infant mortality, low social status, poverty, and poorer housing, education and employment opportunities (Alison, 1998; Braddock, McPartland, 1987; Clark et al., 1999; Yinger, 1994). The link of stigmatized identity and depression was disclosed (Oullette Kobasa et al., 1991) as well as a higher risk of heart diseases (American Heart Association, 2003; Jackson et al., 1996; Krieger, 1990; McEwen, 2000). The income and education of older people, who felt stigmatized, were inferior (Werner et al., 2009). "

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    • "If so, they may be less able to recognize as bias the subtle reactions associated with implicit prejudice and therefore be less able to compensate for them. Repeated exposure to reactions that bypass these self-protective strategies—as would be the case in a biased network—could be an objective , contextual basis of the perceived discrimination and lack of felt belonging that detract from ethnic minority health (Jackson et al., 1995; Penner & Hagiwara, 2014; Williams & Mohammed, 2013) and academic performance (Shook & Clay, 2012; Walton & Cohen, 2007, 2011). "
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    ABSTRACT: Implicit racial prejudice is a prevalent form of racial bias less subject to conscious awareness and control, compared with self-reported bias. Implicit pro-White/anti-Black bias has documented negative implications for the lives of African Americans. Guided by a “shared-reality” approach, research shows how implicit prejudice shapes the lives of White Americans. Two basic principles emerge. First, under the right circumstances, Whites’ implicit prejudice decreases to correspond with the apparent egalitarianism of their contacts. Second, although individuals cannot introspect much on it, implicit prejudice predicts Whites’ desire to affiliate with fellow Whites. Specifically, greater implicit prejudice predicts liking other Whites who seem uncomfortable interacting with Blacks. This work has ramifications for policies to mitigate prejudice—such as including own-group strategies—as well as societal implications of social networks saturated with individuals who hold similar degrees of implicit prejudice.
    10/2014; 1(1):81-87. DOI:10.1177/2372732214549959
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