Minority Health Archive

Under the Skin: Using Theories From Biology and the Social Sciences to Explore the Mechanisms Behind the Black-White Health Gap

Green, T. L. and Darity, W. A. (2010) Under the Skin: Using Theories From Biology and the Social Sciences to Explore the Mechanisms Behind the Black-White Health Gap. American Journal of Public Health, 100 (S1). S36-S40. ISSN 0090-0036

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Abstract

Equity and social well-being considerations make Black–White health disparities an area of important concern. Although previous research suggests that discrimination- and poverty-related stressors play a role in African American health outcomes, the mechanisms are unclear. Allostatic load is a concept that can be employed to demonstrate how environmental stressors, including psychosocial ones, may lead to a cumulative physiological toll on the body. We discuss both the usefulness of this framework for understanding how discrimination can lead to worse health among African Americans, and the challenges for conceptualizing biological risk with existing data and methods. We also contrast allostatic load with theories of historical trauma such as posttraumatic slavery syndrome. Finally, we offer our suggestions for future interdisciplinary research on health disparities.


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Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This article is available at the publisher’s Web site. Access to the full text is subject to the publisher’s access restrictions.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Equity, health disparities, discrimination, Allostatic load, environmental stressors
Subjects: Health > Health Equity
Health > Disparities
Health > Public Health > Chronic Illness & Diseases > Mental Health
Health > Public Health > Health Risk Factors > Stress
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Depositing User: Users 141 not found.
Date Deposited: 26 May 2011 14:17
Last Modified: 30 Jun 2011 16:57
Link to this item (URI): http://health-equity.lib.umd.edu/id/eprint/2527

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