The Association between Perceived Discrimination and Allostatic Load in the Boston Puerto Rican Health Study

Adolfo G. Cuevas, Kaipeng Wang, David R. Williams, Josiemer Mattei, Katherine L. Tucker, Luis M. Falcon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objective Perceived discrimination is a risk factor for poor health among ethnic and racial minority groups. However, few studies have examined the association between major lifetime and everyday perceived discrimination and allostatic load (AL), a preclinical indicator of disease. We examine the association between two measures of discrimination and AL among Puerto Rican adults. Methods Using primarily wave 3 data from the longitudinal Boston Puerto Rican Health Study, we examined the association between major lifetime and everyday perceived discrimination and AL (multisystem dysregulation of 11 physiological components) among Puerto Rican adults residing in the Boston metro area (N = 882). Five models were tested using multivariable regression. The final model adjusted for demographic factors, migration factors, socioeconomic status and work history, health behaviors/risk factors, and depressive symptom. Results Respondents had a M (SD) AL score of 5.11 (1.76; range = 0-11). They had an average score of 0.21 (0.42) for major lifetime perceived discrimination (0-3) and 0.29 (0.49) for everyday perceived discrimination (0-3). In a fully adjusted model, major lifetime perceived discrimination was associated with greater AL (b = 0.56; 95% CI = 0.19 to 0.92), whereas greater everyday perceived discrimination was marginally, but not significantly, associated with lower AL (b =-0.42; 95% CI =-0.87 to 0.04). Conclusions Perceived discrimination remains a common stressor and may be a determinant of AL for Puerto Ricans, although the type of perceived discrimination may have differing effects. Further research is needed to better understand the ways in which major lifetime and everyday perceived discrimination operate to effect physiological systems among Puerto Ricans.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)659-667
Number of pages9
JournalPsychosomatic Medicine
Volume81
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2019

Keywords

  • Abbreviations
  • AL = allostatic load
  • allostatic load
  • BPRHS = Boston Puerto Rican Health Study
  • CRP = C-reactive protein
  • DBP = diastolic blood pressure
  • DHEA-S = dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate
  • discrimination
  • dysregulation
  • HbA1c = glycosylated hemoglobin
  • HDL-C = high-density lipoprotein cholesterol
  • HPA = hypothalamic-pituitary-Adrenal
  • Puerto Ricans
  • SBP = systolic blood pressure
  • SES = socioeconomic status
  • TC = total cholesterol

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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