The proposed study will contribute to our understanding of mental health among African American adults by considering community-level, family-level and individual-level risk and resilience factors during a critical developmental period in the lives of African American parents and their children. Life span research has largely neglected African American adults and there is a pressing need to understand the unique experiences and determinants of mental health among African Americans, as highlighted by the recent Report on Mental Health issued by the Surgeon General. The mental health trajectories of African American parents in different kinds of communities and families will be explored. The data for the proposed project will be collected from an existing sample of 897 African American families, all of whom had a 10-year-old child at the time of initial recruitment. We recruited families from a range of settings, many family structures, and income levels. We seek funding for two waves of data collection, to be spaced at two-year intervals. With existing data, this will produce a total of four assessments, spanning ages 10 to 16 among the target children. We seek to understand the influence of neighborhood characteristics (e.g., economic disadvantage, social disorder, cohesion) on level of distress and rates of diagnosable disorder and the mechanisms through which neighborhoods affect mental health. Assessments of neighborhood characteristics include both U.S. Census data and the aggregated ratings of neighborhood residents. We will emphasize protective factors that promote successful coping and the avoidance of distress and disorder. Stressors such as race-related negative events and the methods used to cope with them will be highlighted. We will investigate the protective influence of close relationships across different family structures and co-caregiving arrangements. Multi-level analyses, growth curve modeling, and structural equation modeling with latent variables will be used to analyze this very rich longitudinal data set. Companion projects submitted as part of this Interactive Group Research Project will explore community, family, and individual predictors of child resiliency and adjustment, including the development of competence and prosocial behavior (Risk and Resilience among African American Youth; Ronald L. Simons, P1) and avoidance of health risk behaviors (Social Psychological and Familial Influences on the Health Behavior of African American Children, Frederick X.Gibbons, PI).

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Research Project (R01)
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Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1-RPHB-3 (02))
Program Officer
Price, Leshawndra N
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Iowa State University
Schools of Arts and Sciences
United States
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Russell, Daniel W; Clavél, Frederick D; Cutrona, Carolyn E et al. (2018) Neighborhood racial discrimination and the development of major depression. J Abnorm Psychol 127:150-159
Simons, Ronald L; Lei, Man Kit; Beach, Steven R H et al. (2017) Methylation of the oxytocin receptor gene mediates the effect of adversity on negative schemas and depression. Dev Psychopathol 29:725-736
Walker, Rheeda; Francis, David; Brody, Gene et al. (2017) A Longitudinal Study of Racial Discrimination and Risk for Death Ideation in African American Youth. Suicide Life Threat Behav 47:86-102
Simons, Ronald L; Lei, Man Kit; Beach, Steven R H et al. (2016) Economic hardship and biological weathering: The epigenetics of aging in a U.S. sample of black women. Soc Sci Med 150:192-200
Lei, Man-Kit; Beach, Steven R H; Simons, Ronald L et al. (2016) Stress, relationship satisfaction, and health among African American women: Genetic moderation of effects. J Fam Psychol 30:221-32
Seawell, Asani H; Cutrona, Carolyn E; Russell, Daniel W (2014) The Effects of General Social Support and Social Support for Racial Discrimination on African American Women's Well-Being. J Black Psychol 40:3-26
Beach, Steven R H; Lei, Man Kit; Brody, Gene H et al. (2012) Genetic moderation of contextual effects on negative arousal and parenting in African-American parents. J Fam Psychol 26:46-55
Vijayendran, Meeshanthini; Cutrona, Carolyn; Beach, Steven R H et al. (2012) The relationship of the serotonin transporter (SLC6A4) extra long variant to gene expression in an African American sample. Am J Med Genet B Neuropsychiatr Genet 159B:611-2
Schofield, Thomas J; Conger, Rand D; Conger, Katherine J et al. (2012) Neighborhood disorder and children's antisocial behavior: the protective effect of family support among Mexican American and African American Families. Am J Community Psychol 50:101-13
Martin, Monica J; McCarthy, Bill; Conger, Rand D et al. (2011) The Enduring Significance of Racism: Discrimination and Delinquency Among Black American Youth. J Res Adolesc 21:662-676

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