Am J Health Behav 2016 11;40(6):697-704
Professor, University of Georgia, Department of Psychology, Athens, GA.
Objective: We examined the mediational role of symptoms of anxiety in accounting for the association of discrimination and chronic health conditions among African-American women.
Methods: Participants were 646 African-American women who completed self-report measures of perceived racial discrimination, symptoms of anxiety, and diagnosed chronic health problems.
Results: We examined the mediation hypothesis using a path analytic procedure. Mediational analyses indicated that, above and beyond symptoms of depression, age, and education status, anxiety symptoms were associated with both racial discrimination (β = .03, SE = .01, p < .001) and chronic health problems (β = .33, SE = .09, p < .001) and significantly mediated the discrimination-health association (β = -.01, SE = .01, p = .16).
Conclusions: These findings highlight the potentially vital role of symptoms of anxiety in the process that occurs from an individual's perception of discrimination to reported chronic health outcomes. Future research expanding our understanding of the interconnection of psychosocial stressors, discrimination, and their biological sequelae is needed.