Daily Racial Discrimination Experiences, Ethnic-Racial Identity, and Diurnal Cortisol Patterns Among Black Adults

Eleanor K. Seaton, Katharine H. Zeiders

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Objectives: The present study examined the daily relation between racial discrimination experiences and diurnal cortisol patterns among a sample of Black American adults. The daily diary approach afforded the chance to examine how within-person fluctuations in racial discrimination experiences related to same- and next-day changes in cortisol patterns. The use of a lagged approach examines whether exposure to racial discrimination results in diminished outcomes. It was expected that healthy levels of ethnic-racial identity would moderate the relation between racial discrimination and cortisol parameters. Method: The participants included 93 Black adults (e.g., 20 males and 73 females) who ranged in age from 17 to 56 years old. Participants completed measures of racial discrimination and ethnic-racial identity, and provided 9 saliva samples. Results: The results indicate that on days when individuals reported increased racial discrimination experiences, they exhibited higher cortisol levels at bedtime and greater overall cortisol output that same day. Lagged analyses revealed that on days when participants reported increased racial discrimination experiences, they exhibited less pronounced cortisol awakening responses and steeper diurnal cortisol slopes the next day. These associations were moderated by high racial centrality levels, high private regard levels, and low public regard levels. Conclusions: Same-day racial discrimination experiences related to compromised diurnal cortisol patterns. The effects of racial discrimination experiences on next-day physiological functioning largely depended on ethnic-racial identity dimensions, and afforded individuals the ability to recover.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalCultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2020

Keywords

  • Black adults
  • Diurnal cortisol
  • Ethnic-racial identity
  • HPA axis
  • Racial discrimination

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science

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