194451 Assessing multiple dimensions of perceived ethnic discrimination and neuroendocrine biomarkers in Mexican-American women

Monday, November 9, 2009: 10:35 AM

Jessica A. Jiménez, MA , San Diego State University/ University of California, San Diego, Joint Doctoral Program, Graduate School of Public Health, San Diego, CA
Paul J. Mills, PhD , Department of Psychiatry, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA
John P. Elder, PhD, MPH , Graduate School of Public Health, San Diego State University, San Diego, CA
Linda C. Gallo, PhD , Joint Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology, San Diego State University/University of California San Diego, San Diego, CA
Studies suggest that chronic stress generated in response to subjective experiences of ethnic discrimination may predict cardiovascular outcomes. Allostatic Load (AL) theory postulates that the body's response to ongoing stress can cause eventual dysregulation of multiple physiological systems. Theoretically, AL is a measure of cumulative stress and a precursor for later morbidity and mortality. However, the literature provides mixed findings regarding the relationship between chronic stress and AL. Using data from an ongoing study of SES and psychosocial factors related to CVD risk among Mexican-American women, we investigated the relationship between multiple dimensions of ethnic discrimination and the primary mediators of AL, neuroendocrine biomarkers (NAL). A healthy sample of 144 women (mean age = 49 years; 51% had a high school education or more) completed an overnight urine collection and questionnaire measuring multiple dimensions of discrimination: exclusion, stigma, discrimination in workplace/school, and threat. NAL was operationalized via a composite score of urinary cortisol, epinephrine, and norepinephrine, adjusted for creatinine. After controlling for age, SES, smoking, alcohol, and dietary behaviors, perceptions of exclusion [B = .292, p<.018] and stigmatization [B = .460, p<.028] based on ethnicity were positively related to NAL. Discrimination in the workplace/school [B = .250, p<.057] and being physically threatened [B = .595, p<.091] demonstrated a positive trend, but were not significant. The total score for discrimination was also significantly associated with NAL [B = .224, p<.038]. Further research is needed to understand how ongoing perceptions of ethnic discrimination are related to chronic stress and neuroendocrine activation.

Learning Objectives:
Define the construct of Allostatic Load and Neuroendocrine Allostatic Load Discuss the effects of perceived ethnic discrimination stress on neuroendocrine activity in Mexican American women

Keywords: Latino Health, Stress

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Current doctoral student in the SDSU/UCSD Joint Doctoral Program in Public Health (Health Behavior) involved in multiple public health research projects investigating CVD risk, stress, and Latino Health. T32 pre-doctoral fellow in Cardiovascular Epidemiology.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.

See more of: Chronic Disease Epidemiology
See more of: Epidemiology