Beliefs about fairness are a clinically significant predictor of cardiovascular health. Fairness beliefs are fundamentally important to cardiovascular health through their capacity to impact biological stress processes. However, the extent to which specific kinds of fairness beliefs influence important biological stress pathways is largely unknown. Ultimately, these limitations have impeded the capacity of researchers to better understand how fairness is implicated in cardiovascular illness, and also to evaluate fairness-oriented cardiovascular interventions. The long-term goal of this research is to elucidate the role played by fairness in cardiovascular health, and to determine whether fairness is a common causal process linking such other risk factors as racism, low SES, and work stress to subsequent biological mediators of cardiovascular illness. The objective of this application is to experimentally elucidate relationships between specific measurements of fairness beliefs and multiple biological stress pathways. The central hypothesis of this application is that procedural and distributive fairness will independently and interdependently predict more adaptive biological stress reactivity. In addition, we expect that these relationships will be reflected in both trait dispositions and situational judgments of fairness, and also in multiple biological and disease relevant stress pathways.
The specific aims are to 1) measure the unique and interactive contributions of distributive (favorable outcomes) and procedural (treatment by others) fairness on biological stress reactivity;2) measure the unique and interactive contributions of dispositional (trait) and situationally induced (state) fairness on biological stress reactivity;3) measure relationships between fairness beliefs and important biological stress pathways, including markers of hemodynamic reactivity, HPA axis arousal, and pro-inflammatory processes. The proposed research will administer a modified version of a well established and laboratory-based stress induction paradigm. In doing so, this research will experimentally evaluate associations between specific kinds of fairness beliefs and multiple biological stress pathways. The public health implication of the project is significant. Namely, the proposed research will provide an important step towards defining disease relevant models, and for targeting and evaluating psychosocial interventions.

Public Health Relevance

Beliefs about fairness predict both stress reactivity and incidence of cardiovascular illness. The proposed research will use experimental methodologies to assess independent and interdependent effects of multiple kinds of fairness beliefs on biological stress processes. The proposed research will carry important public health implications by elucidating the role of unique sources of fairness beliefs in important stress pathways, and by suggesting causal links between fairness and cardiovascular health.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI)
Exploratory/Developmental Grants (R21)
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Social Psychology, Personality and Interpersonal Processes Study Section (SPIP)
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Stoney, Catherine
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Wayne State University
Family Medicine
Schools of Medicine
United States
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Woerner, Jacqueline; Lucas, Todd; Pierce, Jennifer et al. (2018) Salivary uric acid: Associations with resting and reactive blood pressure response to social evaluative stress in healthy African Americans. Psychoneuroendocrinology 101:19-26
Lucas, Todd; Woerner, Jacqueline; Pierce, Jennifer et al. (2018) Justice for all? Beliefs about justice for self and others and telomere length in African Americans. Cultur Divers Ethnic Minor Psychol 24:498-509
Lucas, Todd; Wegner, Rhiana; Pierce, Jennifer et al. (2017) Perceived Discrimination, Racial Identity, and Multisystem Stress Response to Social Evaluative Threat Among African American Men and Women. Psychosom Med 79:293-305
Laurent, Heidemarie K; Lucas, Todd; Pierce, Jennifer et al. (2016) Coordination of cortisol response to social evaluative threat with autonomic and inflammatory responses is moderated by stress appraisals and affect. Biol Psychol 118:17-24
Lucas, Todd; Lumley, Mark A; Flack, John M et al. (2016) A preliminary experimental examination of worldview verification, perceived racism, and stress reactivity in African Americans. Health Psychol 35:366-75