The proposed research would capitalize on a wealth of longitudinal data previously collected at key developmental stages over a period of 27 years as part of the Harlem Longitudinal Development Study. It has two major aims: The first is to identify the mediators of the relationships between social determinants of health (i.e., socioeconomic disadvantage and ethnicity-based/racial discrimination) and allostatic load in a sample of African Americans and Puerto Ricans entering midlife. The research proposal is guided by a contextual- developmental model based in Phenomenological Variant of Ecological Systems Theory, as well as a pathophysiological theory of stress (allostatic load). Second, the research will identify the differential developmental trajectories of perceived ethnicity-based/racial discrimination from late adolescence to the early forties, examine their associations with allostatic load and mental health in the early forties, and test the ability of resilience resources to mitigate these associations. The sample for this study will consist of 400 male and female African Americans and Puerto Ricans who were previously seen in adolescence (T1, T2), emerging adulthood (T3), young adulthood (T4), and adulthood (T5, T6). Identifying the pathways through which risk and protective factors for allostatic load operate will have important implications for public health by providing targets for intervention and informing policy. Finding moderating constructs that can mitigate the deleterious sequelae of chronic ethnicity-based/racial discrimination will highlight significant areas of resilience. Such a focus on resilience not only moves away from a deficit perspective of people of color, but also has the potential to transform policy and interventions by building on strengths, rather than treating deficits. A move in this direction is an important step towards reaching the goal of eliminating the significant social and ethnic/racial health disparities that plague the U.S. and realizing health equity for all.

Public Health Relevance

/ Relevance to Public Health Goals of the proposed research are (1) to examine the mediators of the relationships of social determinants of health and allostatic load among African Americans and Puerto Ricans in their early forties; and (2) to identify longitudinal trajectories of perceived ethnicity-based/racial discrimination from late adolescence to the early forties and to examine their links with allostatic load and mental health. The proposed research would contribute to the elimination of health disparities, a goal of ?Healthy People 2020,? by identifying pathways through with social determinants of health operate and by highlighting areas of resilience on which interventions and policy can build.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD)
Research Project (R01)
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Health Disparities and Equity Promotion Study Section (HDEP)
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Tyus, Nadra
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New York University
Schools of Medicine
New York
United States
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