Discrimination, dispositions, and cardiovascular responses to stress.
OBJECTIVE: Recent research suggests that past exposure to discrimination may influence perceptions of, and physiological responses to, new challenges. The authors examined how race and trait levels of hostility and optimism interact with past exposure to discrimination to predict physiological reactivity and recovery during an anger recall task. DESIGN: A community sample of 165 normotensive Black and White adults participated in an anger recall task while having their cardiovascular function monitored. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Blood pressure and heart rate indicators of physiological reactivity and recovery. RESULTS AND CONCLUSION: Participants had higher reactivity and slower recovery to the anger recall task when they had high past discrimination, low cynicism, or high optimism. The pattern of effects was similar for both racial groups, but Blacks had more acute reactivity and slower recovery than Whites. These results are consistent with the perspective of discrimination as a chronic stressor that is related to acute stress responses, particularly for Blacks.
Richman, LS; Bennett, GG; Pek, J; Siegler, I; Williams, RB
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