Discrimination, affect, and cancer risk factors among African Americans

Adolfo G. Cuevas, Lorraine R. Reitzel, Claire E. Adams, Yumei Cao, Nga Nguyen, David W. Wetter, Kellie L. Watkins, Seann D. Regan, Lorna H. McNeill

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: To examine whether stress or depressive symptoms mediated associations between perceived discrimination and multiple modifiable behavioral risk factors for cancer among 1363 African American adults. Methods: Nonparametric bootstrapping procedures, adjusted for sociodemographics, were used to assess mediation. Results: Stress and depressive symptoms each mediated associations between discrimination and current smoking, and discrimination and the total number of behavioral risk factors for cancer. Depressive symptoms also mediated the association between discrimination and overweight/obesity (p values < .05). Conclusions: Discrimination may influence certain behavioral risk factors for cancer through heightened levels of stress and depressive symptoms. Interventions to reduce cancer risk may need to address experiences of discrimination, as well as the stress and depression they engender. Copyright (c) PNG Publications. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)31-41
Number of pages11
JournalAmerican Journal of Health Behavior
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2014


  • Cancer risk factors
  • Depression
  • Discrimination
  • Stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Social Psychology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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