Publications by authors named "Thomas E Fuller-Rowell"

42 Publications

Racial disparities in sleep health between Black and White young adults: The role of neighborhood safety in childhood.

Sleep Med 2021 May 12;81:341-349. Epub 2021 Mar 12.

Department of Human Development and Family Science, Auburn University, 203 Spidle Hall, Auburn, AL 36849, USA.

Objectives: Black adults in the United States have shorter sleep durations and poorer sleep efficiency relative to White adults, yet reasons for these disparities are not well explicated. The objective of this study was to examine neighborhood safety in childhood as a mediator of subsequent racial disparities in sleep.

Methods: Data were from Black and White young adults attending a large, predominantly White university in the Southeastern United States (N = 263; 52% Black, 53% female; Mean age = 19.21 years, SD = 1.01). Sleep parameters were assessed from eight nights of wrist actigraphy (time in bed, sleep duration, and efficiency) and an established self-report measure of daytime sleepiness. Residential histories from birth through age 18 were documented, and retrospective self-reports of neighborhood safety in childhood were assessed.

Results: Black participants had less time in bed (p < 0.001), shorter sleep duration (p < 0.001), poorer sleep efficiency (p < 0.001), and more daytime sleepiness (p = 0.009) than White participants. Neighborhood safety mediated race differences in time in bed (p = 0.028), sleep duration (p = 0.033), and daytime sleepiness (p = 0.048), but not sleep efficiency. Findings were substantively unchanged after adjustment for family socioeconomic status, BMI, and substance use.

Conclusions: Findings support the hypothesis that neighborhood safety in childhood may partially account for race differences in subsequent sleep duration and daytime sleepiness. Addressing racial inequities in childhood neighborhood safety may be an important step toward reducing racial disparities in sleep health.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.sleep.2021.03.007DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8096683PMC
May 2021

A Changing Landscape of Health Opportunity in the United States: Increases in the Strength of Association Between Childhood Socioeconomic Disadvantage and Adult Health Between the 1990s and the 2010s.

Am J Epidemiol 2021 Mar 12. Epub 2021 Mar 12.

Department of Psychology, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, Wisconsin.

Understanding the changing health consequences of childhood socioeconomic disadvantage (SED) is highly relevant to policy debates on inequality and national and state goals to improve population health. However, changes in the strength of association between childhood SED and adult health over historic time are largely unexamined in the United States. The current study begins to address this knowledge gap. Data were from two national samples of adults collected in 1995 (n = 7,108) and 2012 (n = 3,577) as part of the Midlife in the United States study. Three measures of childhood SED (parent occupational prestige, childhood poverty exposure, and parent education) were combined into an aggregate index and examined separately. The association between childhood SED (aggregate index) and five health outcomes (BMI, waist circumference, chronic conditions, functional limitations, and self-rated health) was stronger in the 2012 sample than the 1995 sample, with the magnitude of associations being approximately twice as large in the more recent sample. Results persisted after adjusting for age, sex, race, marital status, and number of children, and were similar across all three measures of childhood SED. The findings suggest that the socioeconomic circumstances of childhood may have become a stronger predictor of adult health in recent decades.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/aje/kwab060DOI Listing
March 2021

Experiences of Discrimination and Urinary Catecholamine Concentrations: Longitudinal Associations in a College Student Sample.

Ann Behav Med 2020 11;54(11):843-852

Department of Human Development and Family Studies, Auburn University, Auburn, AL, USA.

Background: Experiences of discrimination are a risk factor for subsequent cardiovascular disease. However, there is a lack of longitudinal research examining associations between discrimination and urinary catecholamines. This is surprising given the likely mediating role of sympathetic nervous system dysregulation in the association between psychosocial stress and cardiovascular morbidity.

Purpose: The current study examined the 3 year longitudinal association between experiences of discrimination and urinary catecholamines.

Methods: The sample included 149 college students (mean age at baseline = 18.8, standard deviation = 0.96; 45% Black/African American; 55% White/European American). Concentrations of epinephrine and norepinephrine-urinary catecholamines with established links to psychosocial stress exposure and subsequent morbidity-were determined from 12 hr overnight samples.

Results: Results indicated that experiences of discrimination were associated with increases in both epinephrine (β = .284, standard error [SE] = .117, p = .015) and norepinephrine (β = .306, SE = .114, p = .001). These longitudinal associations persisted after adjusting for negative affect, depression, and rejection sensitivity and did not vary as a function of race/ethnicity.

Conclusions: Results suggest that examination of overnight urinary catecholamines as a biological mediator of associations between experiences of discrimination and cardiovascular morbidity is warranted.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/abm/kaaa033DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7646151PMC
November 2020

Day-to-day fluctuations in experiences of discrimination: Associations with sleep and the moderating role of internalized racism among African American college students.

Cultur Divers Ethnic Minor Psychol 2021 Jan 20;27(1):107-117. Epub 2020 Apr 20.

Department of Human Development and Family Studies, Auburn University.

Objectives: Studies of discrimination and sleep have largely focused on between-person differences in discrimination as a correlate of sleep outcomes. A common criticism of this research is that standard questionnaire measures of discrimination may be confounded by personality and identity and are subject to recall bias. Partially addressing these limitations, the current study examined within-person, day-to-day fluctuations in perceived discrimination as a predictor of day-to-day fluctuations in sleep. The role of internalized racism as a moderator of the within-person association between discrimination and sleep was also considered.

Method: Participants were African American college students attending a predominantly White institution ( = 124, 26% male, = 20.1, = 1.6). Each student was asked to complete a baseline questionnaire and a 9-day diary. Experiences of discrimination were assessed in the questionnaire and daily diary format. Sleep problems were measured each day using self-report measures focusing on sleep quality. Internalized racism was assessed with the miseducation scale, which captures the degree to which individuals associate negative characteristics such as laziness and criminality with their racial/ethnic group. Established measures of racial identity were considered as covariates.

Results: Multilevel analyses indicated that on days when participants experienced more discrimination, subsequent sleep problems increased ( = .037, = .017, = .034). Furthermore, this within-person association was moderated by internalized racism such that the effects of daily discrimination on sleep were stronger among those who scored higher on miseducation ( = .046, = .021, = .033).

Conclusions: Overall, results suggest that ongoing efforts to reduce discrimination, support the adjustment of racial/ethnic minority students, and address internalized racism are warranted. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/cdp0000342DOI Listing
January 2021

Racism-related stress and psychological distress: Black Women's Experiences Living with Lupus study.

J Health Psychol 2020 Mar 31:1359105320913085. Epub 2020 Mar 31.

Auburn University, USA.

Disparate health consequences in African American women with systemic lupus erythematosus include greater severity of physical and psychological distress. Racism-related stress is also related to psychological distress correlates in this population. This study examined the relationships between racism-related experiences, psychological distress, and systemic lupus erythematosus activity in 430 African American women from the Black Women's Experiences Living with Lupus study. The structural equation model suggests that psychological distress mediates the relationship between racism-related stress and systemic lupus erythematosus disease activity. The impact of racism-related stress on systemic lupus erythematosus disease activity may occur primarily through their impact on psychological health variables. Implications for clinical care and future directions are explored.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1359105320913085DOI Listing
March 2020

Childhood socioeconomic status and inflammation: Psychological moderators among Black and White Americans.

Health Psychol 2020 Jun 26;39(6):497-508. Epub 2020 Mar 26.

Department of Psychology.

Objective: The current study examined race differences in how childhood socioeconomic status (SES) predicted midlife inflammation. It also tested psychological resources (purpose in life, optimism, and conscientiousness) as moderators of the association between childhood SES and inflammation among Black and White adults.

Method: Data came from the biomarker subsamples of the Midlife in the United States Core and Refresher studies (n = 1,578 White and n = 395 Black participants). Childhood SES was operationalized as a composite of parental education, perceived financial status, and welfare status. Outcomes included circulating IL-6 and CRP.

Results: Childhood SES did not predict IL-6 or CRP among Black or White adults in fully adjusted models. Among Black adults with low optimism, lower childhood SES predicted higher IL-6 and CRP. Among Black adults with low purpose in life, lower childhood SES predicted higher CRP (but not IL-6). Conscientiousness did not moderate childhood SES-inflammation associations among Black adults. Among White adults with low conscientiousness or low optimism, lower childhood SES predicted higher IL-6 (but not CRP). Purpose in life did not moderate associations among White adults. Effect sizes were small (≤1% variance explained) and comparable to effects of clinical risk factors in this sample (e.g., age, chronic conditions).

Conclusions: Race differences in the childhood SES and inflammation association were not apparent. Childhood SES was linked to inflammation more strongly among those with fewer psychological resources across both racial groups. Psychological resources may be important moderators of inflammation in the context of early life SES disadvantage. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2020 APA, all rights reserved).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/hea0000866DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7437114PMC
June 2020

Socioeconomic status and sleep in adolescence: The role of family chaos.

J Fam Psychol 2020 Aug 3;34(5):577-586. Epub 2020 Feb 3.

Department of Human Development and Family Studies, Auburn University.

Low socioeconomic status (SES) has been associated with poor sleep in youth, yet mechanisms underlying this association are not well-understood. The present study examined greater chaos as a mediator of associations between low SES and 2 indices of poor sleep. Two hundred fifty-two adolescents (53% girls; 66% White/European American, 34% Black/African American) participated in the 3-wave longitudinal study. The sample was socioeconomically diverse. At age 16, parents reported on 2 indices of SES: family income and perceived economic well-being. Adolescents reported on chaos within their family at age 17 and on 2 key sleep-wake processes-sleep quality and daytime sleepiness-at age 18. Family chaos functioned as a mediating or intervening variable in longitudinal associations between lower SES and both poorer sleep quality and greater daytime sleepiness. The findings suggest the potential utility of targeting family level processes that exemplify chaos, such as unpredictability, noise, and interruptions, to improve sleep among adolescents. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2020 APA, all rights reserved).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/fam0000636DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7374040PMC
August 2020

Socioeconomic Status and Sleep among Couples.

Behav Sleep Med 2021 Mar-Apr;19(2):159-177. Epub 2020 Feb 2.

Human Development and Family Studies, Auburn University , Auburn, Alabama.

Lower socioeconomic status (SES) is generally associated with poor sleep but little is known about how different SES indices are associated with sleep duration and quality, or about these relations longitudinally or in cohabiting couples. The main objective was to examine longitudinal associations between multiple SES and sleep parameters in cohabiting adults. Participants were cohabiting couples ( = 135) of women ( age = 37.2 years,  = 5.93; 76% White/European American, 18% Black/African American) and men (M = 39.9 years,  = 7.33; 78% White, 18% Black). Men and women participated twice with a 1-year lag. At Time (T1), participants reported on multiple SES indices including their income, perceived economic well-being, education, employment status, and occupation. Sleep at T1 and T2 was assessed with self-reports and actigraphs (sleep duration from onset to wake time, %sleep from onset to wake, long wake episodes). Actor effects on actigraphy-assessed sleep parameters were evident for both men and women; low SES was associated with shorter duration and poor quality (%sleep, long wake episodes) sleep. These associations were most pronounced for income-to-needs ratio (men and women) and perceived economic well-being (women only). Partner effects were also evident such that men's employment status was associated with women's longer sleep duration and greater sleep quality (%sleep) whereas women's employment predicted increased subjective sleep problems for men. Findings illustrate the need to consider multiple SES and sleep indices, as well as the family context in studies addressing linkages between SES and sleep.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/15402002.2020.1721501DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7395863PMC
February 2020

Racial discrimination and telomere shortening among African Americans: The Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) Study.

Health Psychol 2020 Mar 13;39(3):209-219. Epub 2020 Jan 13.

Department of Psychiatry, University of California, San Francisco.

Objective: Telomeres are protective sequences of DNA capping the ends of chromosomes that shorten over time. Leukocyte telomere length (LTL) is posited to reflect the replicative history of cells and general systemic aging of the organism. Chronic stress exposure leads to accelerated LTL shortening, which has been linked to increased susceptibility to and faster progression of aging-related diseases. This study examined longitudinal associations between LTL and experiences of racial discrimination, a qualitatively unique source of minority psychosocial stress, among African Americans.

Method: Data are from 391 African Americans in the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) Telomere Ancillary Study. We examined the number of domains in which racial discrimination was experienced in relation to LTL collected in Years 15 and 25 (Y15: 2000/2001; Y25: 2010/2011). Multivariable linear regression examined if racial discrimination was associated with LTL. Latent change score analysis (LCS) examined changes in racial discrimination and LTL in relation to one another.

Results: Controlling for racial discrimination at Y15, multivariable linear regression analyses indicated that racial discrimination at Y25 was significantly associated with LTL at Y25. This relationship remained robust after adjusting for LTL at Y15 (b = -.019, = .015). Consistent with this finding, LCS revealed that increases in experiences of racial discrimination were associated with faster 10-year LTL shortening (b = -.019, = .015).

Conclusions: This study adds to evidence that racial discrimination contributes to accelerated physiologic weathering and health declines among African Americans through its impact on biological systems, including via its effects on telomere attrition. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2020 APA, all rights reserved).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/hea0000832DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7373166PMC
March 2020

Externalizing Behaviors Buffer the Effects of Early Life Adversity on Physiologic Dysregulation.

Sci Rep 2019 09 20;9(1):13623. Epub 2019 Sep 20.

Design and Environmental Analysis, Department of Human Development, Cornell University, Ithaca, USA.

The present study examined the counterintuitive hypothesis that externalizing behaviors such as aggression, although in many respects detrimental, may be functional and protect against the detrimental health consequences of early life adversity. In particular, in line with evolutionary models of development, we argue that externalizing problems moderate the association between chronic stress exposure and allostatic load, a biological marker of chronic physiological dysregulation. Prospective interactive effects of externalizing behaviors and cumulative risk (a confluence of multiple risk factors) on children's allostatic load were assessed in 260 children (46% female, baseline age = 9). Exposure to early life adversity was assessed at baseline using a cumulative risk index. Externalizing behaviors were reported by parents at baseline. Allostatic load was measured at baseline and at ages 13 and 17, using endocrine, cardiovascular and metabolic parameters. Results of linear-mixed effects models indicated that the association between cumulative risk and allostatic load was attenuated for adolescents who scored high on externalizing behaviors. Further examination of sex differences indicated that the findings were more pronounced among males than females.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-019-49461-xDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6754506PMC
September 2019

Associations between local government expenditures and low birth weight incidence: Evidence from national birth records.

Prev Med Rep 2019 Dec 30;16:100985. Epub 2019 Aug 30.

Design + Environmental Analysis Department, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853, United States of America.

Local governments play an integral role in providing public services to their residents, yet the population health benefits are frequently overlooked, especially when services are outside the traditional health domain. With data from the U.S. Census of Governments and national birth records (spanning from 1992 to 2014), we examined whether local government expenditures on parks and recreation services (PRS) and housing and community development (HCD) predicted county low birth weight outcomes (population incidence and black-white disparities). Hypotheses were tested using bias-corrected county-by-period fixed effects models in a sample of 956 U.S. counties with a total of 3619 observations (observations were defined as three-year pooled estimates), representing 24 million births. Adjusting for prior county low birth weight incidence, levels of total operational, health, and hospital expenditures, and time-varying county sociodemographics, an increase in per capita county PRS expenditures of $50 was associated with 1.25 fewer low birth weight cases per 1000. Change in county HCD expenditures was not associated with low birth weight incidence, and, contrary to hypotheses, neither expenditure type was linked to county black-white disparities. Further examination of the benefits to birth outcomes from increasing parks and recreation services is warranted.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.pmedr.2019.100985DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6734050PMC
December 2019

Vicarious Racism Stress and Disease Activity: the Black Women's Experiences Living with Lupus (BeWELL) Study.

J Racial Ethn Health Disparities 2019 10 18;6(5):1044-1051. Epub 2019 Jun 18.

Department of Human Development and Family Studies, Auburn University, College of Human Sciences, Auburn, AL, USA.

Background: Indirect or vicarious exposure to racism (e.g., hearing about or observing acts of racism or discrimination) is a salient source of stress for African Americans. Emerging research suggests that these "secondhand" experiences of racism may contribute to racial health inequities through stress-mediated pathways. Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is an inflammatory autoimmune disease that disproportionately impacts African American women and is characterized by racial disparities in severity. Health outcomes in this population may be susceptible to vicarious racism given that SLE is shown to be sensitive to psychosocial stress.

Methods: Data are from 431 African American women with SLE living in Atlanta, Georgia in the Black Women's Experiences Living with Lupus (BeWELL) Study (2015-2017). Vicarious racism stress was measured with four items assessing distress from (1) hearing about racism in the news; (2) experiences of racism among friends or family; (3) witnessing racism in public; and (4) racism depicted in movies and television shows. Multivariable linear regression was used to examine associations with disease activity measured using the Systemic Lupus Activity Questionnaire.

Results: Adjusting for sociodemographic and health-related covariates, vicarious racism stress was associated with greater disease activity (b = 2.15; 95% CI = 1.04-3.27). This association persisted even after adjustment for personal experiences of racial discrimination (b = 1.80; 95% CI = 0.67-2.92).

Conclusions: Vicarious racism may result in heightened disease activity and contribute to racial disparities in SLE. Our findings suggest that acts of racism committed against members of one's racial group may have distinct health consequences beyond the immediate victim or target.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s40615-019-00606-8DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7302115PMC
October 2019

Racial Discrimination, Disease Activity, and Organ Damage: The Black Women's Experiences Living With Lupus (BeWELL) Study.

Am J Epidemiol 2019 08;188(8):1434-1443

Department of Medicine, Division of Rheumatology, School of Medicine, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia.

Black women are disproportionately affected by systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), a chronic, potentially debilitating autoimmune disease, and they also experience more rapid progression and worse outcomes compared with other groups. We examined if racial discrimination is associated with disease outcomes among 427 black women with a validated diagnosis of SLE, who live in the Atlanta, Georgia, metropolitan area, and were recruited to the Black Women's Experiences Living with Lupus Study (2015-2017). Frequency of self-reported experiences of racial discrimination in domains such as employment, housing, and medical settings was assessed using the Experiences of Discrimination measure. SLE activity in the previous 3 months, including symptoms of fatigue, fever, skin rashes, and ulcers, was measured using the Systemic Lupus Activity Questionnaire; irreversible damage to an organ or system was measured using the Brief Index of Lupus Damage. Results of multivariable linear regression analyses examining the Systemic Lupus Activity Questionnaire and log-transformed Brief Index of Lupus Damage scores indicated that increasing frequency of racial discrimination was associated with greater SLE activity (b = 2.00, 95% confidence interval: 1.32, 2.68) and organ damage (b = 0.08, 95% confidence interval: 0.02, 0.13). Comprehensive efforts to address disparities in SLE severity should include policies that address issues of racial discrimination.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/aje/kwz105DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6670046PMC
August 2019

Disparities in insulin resistance between black and white adults in the United States: The role of lifespan stress exposure.

Psychoneuroendocrinology 2019 09 29;107:1-8. Epub 2019 Apr 29.

Department of Psychology, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI, United States.

Background: Disparities in insulin resistance between Black and White adults in the United States are well documented, yet relatively little is known about the psychosocial or biological antecedents of these inequities. The current study examined childhood adversity and contemporaneous psychosocial stressors in adulthood as possible mediators of the racial disparity in insulin resistance. Inflammatory and hypothalamic-pituitary adrenal (HPA) axis mechanisms implicated in associations between lifespan stress exposure and insulin resistance were also considered.

Methods: Data were derived from the biomarker component of the Midlife in the United States Study (N = 1170, 20% Black, 56% female, Mean age = 54.7 years, SD = 11.6). A homeostatic model assessment of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR) was calculated from fasting glucose and insulin concentrations. Twelve risk factors relating to household dysfunction, socioeconomic disadvantage, and maltreatment were sum scored to index childhood adversity. Measures of adult stress included socioeconomic adversity, major stressful events, everyday discrimination, and lifetime discrimination.

Results: Levels of insulin resistance were higher among Black than White adults. Childhood adversity was positively associated with HOMA-IR, and attenuated 18% of the race difference. Measures of adult stress mediated 33% of the association between childhood adversity and HOMA-IR, and accounted for an additional 47% of the race difference. Higher inflammation and lower nocturnal cortisol both played an important role in mediating the association between stress exposure and HOMA-IR.

Conclusions: Findings are consistent with prior research showing that childhood adversity and adult stress are salient predictors of glucose metabolism, and extend this work by showing that lifespan stress exposures attenuate a significant portion of the Black-White disparity in HOMA-IR. Results also suggest stress effects on insulin resistance through inflammatory and HPA-axis pathways.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.psyneuen.2019.04.020DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6635018PMC
September 2019

Derailment: Conceptualization, measurement, and adjustment correlates of perceived change in self and direction.

J Pers Soc Psychol 2020 Mar 6;118(3):584-601. Epub 2018 Aug 6.

Department of Human Development and Family Studies.

Developmental perspectives on self and identity view a sense of personal sameness and continuity as critical for positive adjustment. Thus, the degree to which individuals perceive change over time in self and direction constitutes an important individual difference. Here, we offer an empirically sound instrument for assessing the extent to which people feel temporally discrepant and off course-a sense we term First, we develop and empirically validate a self-report measure that is sensitive to our conceptualization of derailment (Studies 1-3). Employing the new measure with adult samples, Study 3 demonstrates its predictive ability above and beyond other widely used measures of subjective change and identity distress. Study 4 shows the negative effects of derailment persist independent of whether individuals perceive changing for the better or worse, or actually experience status-changing life events. Study 5 demonstrates the prospective utility of this measure by predicting depressive symptoms 18 months later. Finally, levels of derailment are shown to be reduced by a daily writing experiment that emphasizes goal continuity (Study 6). The discussion situates derailment at the intersection of developmental, clinical, and social psychological literatures as a unique and measurable source of psychological vulnerability, and strategies for attenuating its potentially deleterious impact are suggested. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2020 APA, all rights reserved).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/pspp0000209DOI Listing
March 2020

Longitudinal health consequences of socioeconomic disadvantage: Examining perceived discrimination as a mediator.

Health Psychol 2018 05;37(5):491-500

Department of Psychology, University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Objective: Foundational theoretical perspectives suggest that socioeconomic disadvantage (SED) increases an individual's risk of being exposed to unfair treatment or discrimination. However, little empirical attention has been given to the role of perceived discrimination in the SED-health gradient. Addressing this knowledge gap, the current study examined the mediating role of discrimination in the longitudinal association between SED and self-rated health.

Method: Participants in the Midlife in the United States (MIDUS) study were followed over 3 waves covering a 17- to 19-year period (N = 6,286; 53% female; 91% White; mean age at baseline = 47 years, SD = 13). SED was assessed from education, occupational prestige, income, and assets; self-rated health was measured at baseline and follow-up assessments. Two measures of discrimination-perceived inequality in work and everyday discrimination-were considered as mediators.

Results: Both measures of discrimination emerged as important explanatory variables in the link between SED and health. SED at the baseline assessment was associated with changes in self-rated health over the 17- to 19-year period (B = -.15, p < .001). Measures of discrimination partially mediated this longitudinal association, explaining 22% of the total effect. Exposure to discrimination and its health consequences were also more pronounced at younger ages.

Conclusion: Additional research is needed to replicate the findings of this study using objective health measures and to examine possible interventions. Challenging the ideologies and practices that underlie social class-related discrimination, or mitigating its harmful consequences, will both be important approaches to consider. (PsycINFO Database Record
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/hea0000616DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5926810PMC
May 2018

Investigating relations among stress, sleep and nail cortisol and DHEA.

Stress 2018 03 26;21(2):188-193. Epub 2018 Jan 26.

e Department of Psychology and Neuroscience, University of Massachusetts , Amherst , MA , USA.

In the current study, we present data investigating the relationships among stress, sleep disturbance, self-control, and levels of cortisol (CORT) and dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) in fingernail clippings. Currently, hair CORT is the only routinely used noninvasive, validated, biomarker of chronic exposure to stress-related hormones. Nail clippings represent an important potential alternative sample matrix for assessing chronic hormone exposure, as it offers a different timeline of hormone incorporation than scalp hair, and may be obtainable from populations in which hair either is lacking or is unavailable for cultural reasons. Moreover, there is established precedent for using fingernail clippings to attain biomarker data. However, the value of nail hormone assessment for psychological research is currently unknown due to a paucity of information on the relations between nail hormone concentrations and environmental or psychological variables. In the present study, we collected data from a low income, minority population (N = 47; 97% African American) to demonstrate feasibility and acceptability of nail collection and analysis of the adrenal steroids CORT and DHEA. Participants reported on perceived stress, sleep and self-control abilities. Correlational analyses suggest that exposure to stressful events, disturbances in sleep and waking were associated with higher levels of nail DHEA, while self-control was associated with higher levels of nail CORT. We discuss the potential importance of this methodology for investigating biological, behavioral, and subjective indices of stress and well-being.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10253890.2018.1429398DOI Listing
March 2018

Resting high-frequency heart rate variability moderates the association between early-life adversity and body adiposity.

J Health Psychol 2020 06 18;25(7):953-963. Epub 2017 Dec 18.

Claremont McKenna College, USA.

This study investigates resting high-frequency heart rate variability as a moderator of the association between early-life adversity and two measures of body adiposity. Data were collected from 149 young adults attending a large university in the Midwestern United States ( = 18.8 years; 45% black; 55% white; 56% female). Self-reported early-life adversity was associated with greater waist-to-height ratio and body mass index. The strength of these associations was moderated by high-frequency heart rate variability, such that the link was stronger for individuals with lower heart rate variability. Resting high-frequency heart rate variability thus has potential health significance as a biomarker of stress vulnerability.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1359105317739964DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7732351PMC
June 2020

Habitual sleep as a contributor to racial differences in cardiometabolic risk.

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2017 08 31;114(33):8889-8894. Epub 2017 Jul 31.

Department of Psychology, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI 53706.

Insufficient and disrupted sleep is linked with cardiovascular and metabolic dysregulation and morbidity. The current study examines the degree to which differences in sleep between black/African American (AA) and white/European American (EA) adults explain racial differences in cardiometabolic (CMB) disease risk. Total sleep time and sleep efficiency (percent of time in bed asleep) were assessed via seven nights of wrist actigraphy among 426 participants in the Midlife in the United States Study (31% AA; 69% EA; 61% female; mean age = 56.8 y). CMB risk was indexed as a composite of seven biomarkers [blood pressure, waist circumference, hemoglobin A1c (HbA), insulin resistance, triglycerides, HDL cholesterol (HDL-C), and C-reactive protein]. Covariates included sociodemographic characteristics and relevant health behaviors. Results indicated that AAs relative to EAs obtained less sleep (341 vs. 381 min) and had lower sleep efficiency (72.3 vs. 82.2%) ( values < 0.001). Further, 41% and 58% of the racial difference in CMB risk was explained by sleep time and sleep efficiency, respectively. In models stratified by sex, race was indirectly associated with CMB risk via sleep time and efficiency only among females (explaining 33% and 65% of the race difference, respectively). Indirect effects were robust to alternative model specifications that excluded participants with diabetes or heart disease. Consideration of sleep determinants and sleep health is therefore needed in efforts to reduce racial differences in CMB disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1618167114DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5565403PMC
August 2017

Racial Disparities in Blood Pressure Trajectories of Preterm Children: The Role of Family and Neighborhood Socioeconomic Status.

Am J Epidemiol 2017 05;185(10):888-897

Racial disparities in cardiovascular disease mortality in the United States remain substantial. However, the childhood roots of these disparities are not well understood. In the current study, we examined racial differences in blood pressure trajectories across early childhood in a sample of African-American and European-American low-birth-weight preterm infants. Family and neighborhood socioeconomic status (SES), measured at baseline, were also examined as explanations for subsequent group disparities. Analyses focused on 407 African-American and 264 European-American children who participated in the Infant Health and Development Program, a US longitudinal study of preterm children born in 1985. Blood pressure was assessed on 6 occasions between the ages of 24 and 78 months, in 1987-1992. Across this age range, the average rate of change in both systolic and diastolic blood pressure was greater among African-American children than among European-American children. Neighborhood SES explained 29% and 24% of the racial difference in the average rate of change in systolic and diastolic blood pressure, respectively, whereas family SES did not account for group differences. The findings show that racial differences in blood pressure among preterm children emerge in early childhood and that neighborhood SES accounts for a portion of racial disparities.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/aje/kww198DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5860255PMC
May 2017

Racial disparities in sleep: the role of neighborhood disadvantage.

Sleep Med 2016 Nov - Dec;27-28:1-8. Epub 2016 Oct 31.

Department of Psychology, University of Wisconsin - Madison, WI, USA.

Objective: Disparities in sleep duration and efficiency between Black/African American (AA) and White/European American (EA) adults are well-documented. The objective of this study was to examine neighborhood disadvantage as an explanation for race differences in objectively measured sleep.

Methods: Data were from 133 AA and 293 EA adults who participated in the sleep assessment protocol of the Midlife in the United States (MIDUS) study (57% female; Mean Age = 56.8 years, SD = 11.4). Sleep minutes, onset latency, and waking after sleep onset (WASO) were assessed over seven nights using wrist actigraphy. Neighborhood characteristics were assessed by linking home addresses to tract-level socioeconomic data from the 2000 US Census. Multilevel models estimated associations between neighborhood disadvantage and sleep, and the degree to which neighborhood disadvantage mediated race differences in sleep controlling for family socioeconomic position and demographic variables.

Results: AAs had shorter sleep duration, greater onset latency, and higher WASO than EAs (ps < 0.001). Neighborhood disadvantage was significantly associated with WASO (B = 3.54, p = 0.028), but not sleep minutes (B = -2.21, p = 0.60) or latency (B = 1.55, p = 0.38). Furthermore, race was indirectly associated with WASO via neighborhood disadvantage (B = 4.63, p = 0.035), which explained 24% of the race difference. When measures of depression, health behaviors, and obesity were added to the model, the association between neighborhood disadvantage and WASO was attenuated by 11% but remained significant.

Conclusion: Findings suggest that neighborhood disadvantage mediates a portion of race differences in WASO, an important indicator of sleep efficiency.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.sleep.2016.10.008DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5171231PMC
February 2018

Neighborhood Economic Deprivation and Social Fragmentation: Associations With Children's Sleep.

Behav Sleep Med 2018 Nov-Dec;16(6):542-552. Epub 2016 Dec 9.

b Human Development and Family Studies , Auburn University , Auburn , Alabama.

Background & Objective: A growing body of work indicates that experiences of neighborhood disadvantage place children at risk for poor sleep. This study aimed to examine how both neighborhood economic deprivation (a measure of poverty) and social fragmentation (an index of instability) are associated with objective measures of the length and quality of children's sleep.

Participants: Participants were 210 children (54.3% boys) living predominantly in small towns and semirural communities in Alabama. On average children were 11.3 years old (SD = .63); 66.7% of the children were European American and 33.3% were African American. The sample was socioeconomically diverse with 67.9% of the participants living at or below the poverty line and 32.1% from lower-middle-class or middle-class families.

Methods: Indicators of neighborhood characteristics were derived from the 2012 American Community Survey and composited to create two variables representing neighborhood economic deprivation and social fragmentation. Child sleep period, actual sleep minutes, and efficiency were examined using actigraphy.

Results: Higher levels of neighborhood economic deprivation were associated with fewer sleep minutes and poorer sleep efficiency. More neighborhood social fragmentation was also linked with poorer sleep efficiency. Analyses controlled for demographic characteristics, child health, and family socioeconomic status.

Conclusions: Findings indicate that living in economically and socially disadvantaged neighborhoods predicts risk for shorter and lower-quality sleep in children. Examination of community context in addition to family and individual characteristics may provide a more comprehensive understanding of the factors shaping child sleep.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/15402002.2016.1253011DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6126988PMC
January 2019

Racial discrimination mediates race differences in sleep problems: A longitudinal analysis.

Cultur Divers Ethnic Minor Psychol 2017 04 18;23(2):165-173. Epub 2016 Jul 18.

Department of Family Medicine, University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Objectives: To examine changes in sleep problems over a 1.5-year period among Black or African American (AA) and White or European American (EA) college students and to consider the role of racial discrimination as a mediator of race differences in sleep problems over time.

Method: Students attending a large, predominantly White university (N = 133, 41% AA, 57% female, mean age = 18.8, SD = .90) reported on habitual sleep characteristics and experiences of racial discrimination at baseline and follow-up assessments. A latent variable for sleep problems was assessed from reports of sleep latency, duration, efficiency, and quality. Longitudinal models were used to examine race differences in sleep problems over time and the mediating role of perceived discrimination. Covariates included age, gender, parent education, parent income, body mass index, self-rated physical health, and depressive symptoms. Each of the individual sleep measures was also examined separately, and sensitivity analyses were conducted using alternative formulations of the sleep problems measure.

Results: AAs had greater increases in sleep problems than EAs. Perceived discrimination was also associated with increases in sleep problems over time and mediated racial disparities in sleep. This pattern of findings was similar when each of the sleep indicators was considered separately and held with alternative sleep problems measures.

Conclusions: The findings highlight the importance of racial disparities in sleep across the college years and suggest that experiences of discrimination contribute to group disparities. (PsycINFO Database Record
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/cdp0000104DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5243865PMC
April 2017

Racial and socioeconomic disparities in body mass index among college students: understanding the role of early life adversity.

J Behav Med 2016 Oct 11;39(5):866-75. Epub 2016 Jun 11.

Department of Psychology, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI, USA.

The role of early life adversity (ELA) in the development of health disparities has not received adequate attention. The current study examined differential exposure and differential vulnerability to ELA as explanations for socioeconomic and racial disparities in body mass index (BMI). Data were derived from a sample of 150 college students (M age  = 18.8, SD = 1.0; 45 % African American; 55 % European American) who reported on parents' education and income as well as on exposure to 21 early adverse experiences. Body measurements were directly assessed to determine BMI. In adjusted models, African American students had higher BMI than European Americans. Similarly, background socioeconomic status was inversely associated with BMI. Significant mediation of group disparities through the pathway of ELA was detected, attenuating disparities by approximately 40 %. Furthermore, ELA was more strongly associated with BMI for African Americans than for European Americans. Efforts to achieve health equity may need to more fully consider early adversity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10865-016-9756-4DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6964025PMC
October 2016

Developmental histories of perceived racial discrimination and diurnal cortisol profiles in adulthood: A 20-year prospective study.

Psychoneuroendocrinology 2015 Dec 28;62:279-91. Epub 2015 Aug 28.

School of Education, University of California, Irvine, 2068 Education, Mail Code: 5500, Irvine, CA 92697, United States.

Perceived racial discrimination (PRD) has been associated with altered diurnal cortisol rhythms in past cross-sectional research. We investigate whether developmental histories of PRD, assessed prospectively, are associated with adult diurnal cortisol profiles. One-hundred and twelve (N=50 Black, N=62 White) adults from the Maryland Adolescent Development in Context Study provided saliva samples in adulthood (at approximately age 32 years) at waking, 30min after waking, and at bedtime for 7 days. Diurnal cortisol measures were calculated, including waking cortisol levels, diurnal cortisol slopes, the cortisol awakening response (CAR), and average daily cortisol (AUC). These cortisol outcomes were predicted from measures of PRD obtained over a 20-year period beginning when individuals were in 7th grade (approximately age 12). Greater average PRD measured across the 20-year period predicted flatter adult diurnal cortisol slopes for both Black and White adults, and a lower CAR. Greater average PRD also predicted lower waking cortisol for Black, but not White adults. PRD experiences in adolescence accounted for many of these effects. When adolescent and young adult PRD are entered together predicting cortisol outcomes, PRD experiences in adolescence (but not young adulthood) significantly predicted flatter diurnal cortisol slopes for both Black and White adults. Adolescent, but not young adult PRD, also significantly predicted lower waking and lower average cortisol for Black adults. Young adult PRD was, however, a stronger predictor of the CAR, predicting a marginally lower CAR for Whites, and a significantly larger CAR for Blacks. Effects were robust to controlling for covariates including health behaviors, depression, income and parent education levels. PRD experiences interacted with parent education and income to predict aspects of the diurnal cortisol rhythm. Although these results suggest PRD influences on cortisol for both Blacks and Whites, the key findings suggest that the effects are more pervasive for Blacks, affecting multiple aspects of the cortisol diurnal rhythm. In addition, adolescence is a more sensitive developmental period than adulthood for the impacts of PRD on adult stress biology.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.psyneuen.2015.08.018DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4739843PMC
December 2015

Perceived discrimination and youths' adjustment: sleep as a moderator.

J Sleep Res 2016 02;25(1):70-7

Adolescents' sleep duration was examined as a moderator of the association between perceived discrimination and internalizing (anxiety, depression) and externalizing symptoms. Participants were 252 adolescents (mean: 15.79 years; 66% European American, 34% African American) who reported on their perceived discrimination (racial and general) and adjustment. Sleep duration was measured using actigraphy. Moderation effects were evident. The lowest levels of internalizing symptoms were observed for adolescents with longer sleep duration in conjunction with lower levels of perceived racial discrimination. Further, general perceived discrimination was associated more strongly with externalizing behaviours for youth with shorter versus longer sleep. Findings highlight the importance of sleep as a bioregulatory system that can ameliorate or exacerbate the effects of discrimination on youths' adjustment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jsr.12333DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4751069PMC
February 2016

Racial disparities in the health benefits of educational attainment: a study of inflammatory trajectories among African American and white adults.

Psychosom Med 2015 Jan;77(1):33-40

From the College of Human Sciences (T.E.F.-R., D.S.C.), Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama; Department of Psychology (S.N.D.), Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts; and Department of Psychology (C.L.C.), University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin.

Objective: The current study examined the prospective effects of educational attainment on proinflammatory physiology among African American and white adults.

Methods: Participants were 1192 African Americans and 1487 whites who participated in Year 5 (mean [standard deviation] age = 30 [3.5] years), and Year 20 (mean [standard deviation] age = 45 [3.5]) of an ongoing longitudinal study. Initial analyses focused on age-related changes in fibrinogen across racial groups, and parallel analyses for C-reactive protein and interleukin-6 assessed at Year 20. Models then estimated the effects of educational attainment on changes in inflammation for African Americans and whites before and after controlling for four blocks of covariates: a) early life adversity, b) health and health behaviors at baseline, c) employment and financial measures at baseline and follow-up, and d) psychosocial stresses in adulthood.

Results: African Americans had larger increases in fibrinogen over time than whites (B = 24.93, standard error = 3.24, p < .001), and 37% of this difference was explained after including all covariates. Effects of educational attainment were weaker for African Americans than for whites (B = 10.11, standard error = 3.29, p = .002), and only 8% of this difference was explained by covariates. Analyses for C-reactive protein and interleukin-6 yielded consistent results.

Conclusions: The effects of educational attainment on inflammation levels were stronger for white than for African American participants. Why African Americans do not show the same health benefits with educational attainment is an important question for health disparities research.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/PSY.0000000000000128DOI Listing
January 2015

Childhood poverty, chronic stress, and young adult working memory: the protective role of self-regulatory capacity.

Dev Sci 2013 Sep 30;16(5):688-96. Epub 2013 Jul 30.

Human Ecology, Cornell University, USA.

Prior research shows that childhood poverty as well as chronic stress can damage children's executive functioning (EF) capacities, including working memory. However, it is also clear that not all children suffer the same degree of adverse consequences from risk exposure. We show that chronic stress early in life (ages 9-13) links childhood poverty from birth to age 13 to young adult working memory. However, 9-year-olds high in self-regulatory capacity, assessed by a standard delay of gratification protocol, are protected from such insults. Self-regulatory skills may afford the developing prefrontal cortex some protection from childhood poverty.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/desc.12082DOI Listing
September 2013

Race differences in age-trends of autonomic nervous system functioning.

J Aging Health 2013 Aug 18;25(5):839-62. Epub 2013 Jun 18.

Robert Wood Johnson Health & Society Scholar, School of Medicine and Public Health, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI 53726, USA.

Objective: The objective of this study was to consider race differences in age-trends of autonomic nervous system functioning, using a national data set with a broad age range.

Methods: Measures of baseline heart rate variability (HRV) and HRV reactivity were derived from electrocardiograph (ECG) recordings taken at rest and during cognitive stress tasks. Age-trends in HRV and HRV reactivity were compared among 204 African Americans and 833 Whites ages 34 to 83 years (M = 53.7, SD = 11.4), before and after controlling for socioeconomic status (SES).

Results: For HRV-reactivity, age-trends were steeper among African Americans and lower SES participants than Whites and higher SES participants. For baseline HRV, age-trends varied by SES but not race.

Discussion: Results relating to HRV-reactivity (but not baseline HRV) were consistent with hypotheses suggesting that African Americans are exposed to higher levels of stress and experience accelerated declines in health across the life span. The relevance of the findings to research on social stress and health disparities is discussed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0898264313491427DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3758802PMC
August 2013

Racial microaggressions and daily well-being among Asian Americans.

J Couns Psychol 2013 Apr 18;60(2):188-99. Epub 2013 Feb 18.

Department of Human Development and Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research, Cornell University.

Although epidemiological studies and community surveys of Asian Americans have found that lifetime occurrences of racial discrimination are associated with increased risk for psychological morbidity, little is known about how exposure to racial discrimination is patterned in everyday life. Extrapolating from previous qualitative research (Sue, Bucceri, Lin, Nadal, & Torino, 2007), this study presents data on the prevalence and psychological correlates of everyday racial microaggressions that reflect the Asian American experience. Measures of positive affect, negative affect, somatic symptoms, and racial microaggressions were completed by 152 Asian Americans each day for up to 14 consecutive days. Approximately 78% of participants reported some form of racial microaggression within the 2-week study period. Multilevel analyses indicated that elevations in daily microaggressions, as well as greater microaggressions on average, predicted increases in somatic symptoms and negative affect. Implications of these findings for racial microaggression research and clinical practice are discussed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/a0031736DOI Listing
April 2013