Lifetime discrimination, habitual and daily everyday discrimination, and diurnal cortisol among older African Americans adults

Samuele Zilioli, Yanping Jiang, De Annah Byrd, Nataria Joseph

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

Experiences of discrimination can be major life events or daily chronic hassles that occur in various social contexts (e.g., housing, education, employment) and have been found to predict adverse health outcomes, including dysregulation of the Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal (HPA) axis. Previous work on daily cortisol dynamics has generally revealed an association between discrimination and flatter cortisol slopes, particularly among racial minorities. However, most of the existing studies have focused on youth and young adults, with little work among older adults. The current study aimed to investigate the relationship between three measures of discrimination (lifetime discrimination, habitual everyday discrimination, and daily everyday discrimination) and diurnal cortisol secretion in a sample of 203 older African Americans. Study results indicated that individuals reporting higher levels of lifetime discrimination experienced morning hypocortisolism and flatter diurnal cortisol slopes. Exploratory analyses also showed that prior daily everyday discrimination was significantly associated with blunted cortisol awakening response (CAR) the next day. Our findings underline the role of discrimination in modulating daily cortisol dynamics among older African American adults and advance knowledge on how social stressors influence healthy aging.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number106089
JournalPsychoneuroendocrinology
Volume152
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2023
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • African Americans
  • Aging
  • Cortisol
  • Discrimination
  • Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal (HPA) axis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology
  • Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry

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