A study by a research team at Boston University has found a correlation between the experience of racism and the greater likelihood of adult-onset asthma in African American women. The study by researchers at the university’s Slone Epidemiology Center found that African American women who had experienced frequent incidents of racism were more likely to develop asthma as adults than Black women who were not exposed to racism to a large degree.
The study examined the cases of more than 38,000 African American women who participated in the Black Women’s Health Study between 1997 and 2011. The women completed questionnaires on their health and experiences of racism every two years.
The results showed that there was a direct relationship between the extent of exposure to racism with an increased likelihood of adult-onset asthma. Women who experienced a great deal of racism were 45 percent more likely than women who experienced the least racism to develop asthma.
The lead author of the study, Patricia Coogan, research professor of epidemiology at Boston University, stated, “Racism is a significant stressor in the lives of African American women and our results contribute to a growing body of evidence indicating that experiences of racism can have adverse effects on health.”