Previous studies have shown that racial discrimination can have a direct negative impact on the health of African Americans. But most of this research has focused on African American adults.
Now a new study led by Bridget J. Goosby, an associate professor of sociology at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln, finds that racial discrimination can also affect the health status of African American adolescents.
Dr. Goosby recruited a large group of low-income adolescent African American youths between 10-15 years old from Omaha. Blood samples and blood pressure readings were collected. Information about stress and perceived discrimination was obtained through interviews with the participants in the study.
The results showed a strong correlation between perceived discrimination and levels of C-reactive protein, which causes inflammation, and high blood pressure. “I didn’t expect that discrimination would have such a strong relationship with these particular markers of cardiovascular disease risk in kids this young,” Dr. Goosby said. “These youths are already experiencing health impacts that are related to discrimination.”
Dr. Goosby joined the faculty at the University of Nebraska in 2007. She is a graduate of Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas. Dr. Goosby holds a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in sociology and demography from Pennsylvania State University.
The study, “Perceived Discrimination and Markers of Cardiovascular Risk Among Low-Income African American Youth,” was published on the website of the American Journal of Human Biology. It may be accessed here.