Discrimination, Sleep, and Stress Reactivity: Pathways to African American-White Cardiometabolic Risk Inequities

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7 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This review provides a model explicating two related physiologic and behavioral pathways through which the chronic daily stress of the expectation and experience of discrimination exposure can shape life course cardiometabolic risk trajectories: sleep and stress reactivity. We argue that these two pathways work together jointly to shape African American-White disparities in cardiometabolic morbidities. The body’s ongoing anticipation of experiencing racism-related stressors disrupts sleep, a behavior highly responsive to stress reactivity, which is also elevated during stressful conditions. The constant feedback between sleep disruption and the body’s stress response can lead to higher allostatic load and disproportionate exposure to stress-related illness among African Americans earlier in their life course.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)699-716
Number of pages18
JournalPopulation Research and Policy Review
Volume36
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1 2017

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sleep
African American
discrimination
racism
morbidity
trajectory
illness
American
exposure
experience

Keywords

  • Cardiometabolic
  • Discrimination
  • Racial inequities
  • Sleep
  • Stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Demography
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law

Cite this

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abstract = "This review provides a model explicating two related physiologic and behavioral pathways through which the chronic daily stress of the expectation and experience of discrimination exposure can shape life course cardiometabolic risk trajectories: sleep and stress reactivity. We argue that these two pathways work together jointly to shape African American-White disparities in cardiometabolic morbidities. The body’s ongoing anticipation of experiencing racism-related stressors disrupts sleep, a behavior highly responsive to stress reactivity, which is also elevated during stressful conditions. The constant feedback between sleep disruption and the body’s stress response can lead to higher allostatic load and disproportionate exposure to stress-related illness among African Americans earlier in their life course.",
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