Inequality “Under the Skin”: Stress and the Biodemography of Racial Health Disparities Across the Life Course Public Deposited

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Last Modified
  • March 20, 2019
Creator
  • Boen, Courtney
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Sociology
Abstract
  • Black-White disparities in morbidity and mortality can be observed across the life course, from birth through late life. Given the persistence of racial health gaps across time and space, a wide body of literature seeks to better understand the social factors contributing to these disparities, and research suggests that racial differences in exposure to social stressors play a critical—yet largely underestimated—role in Black-White health gaps. Still, critical gaps in scientific understanding of how racial differences in exposure to stressors across the life course contribute to Black-White disparities in disease emergence and progression remain. Using two longitudinal, population-level data sets that collectively span from adolescence through late adulthood, this research examines how racial inequality patterns exposure to material conditions and psychosocial stressors to promote physiological and psychological dysregulation and ultimately affect health and disease risk. In particular, this study assesses how racial differences in exposure to stress related to criminal justice contacts, neighborhood conditions, and lifetime events and chronic strains affect Black-White inequities in pre-disease biomarkers of health and physiological function. This research thus improves scientific understanding of how racism patterns exposure to material conditions and psychosocial stressors to promote physiological and psychological dysregulation and ultimately affect health and disease risk on a population level.
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Rights statement
  • In Copyright
Advisor
  • Perez, Anthony
  • Mullan Harris, Kathleen Mullan
  • Yang, Claire
  • Hummer, Robert
  • Tyson, Karolyn
Degree
  • Doctor of Philosophy
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Graduate School
Graduation year
  • 2017
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