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Health Psychol. 2003 May;22(3):300-9.

Chronic stress burden, discrimination, and subclinical carotid artery disease in African American and Caucasian women.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15213, USA.


This study examined the association between a composite index of stress that included measures of life events, ongoing stress, discrimination, and economic hardship and subclinical carotid disease among 109 African America and 225 Caucasian premenopausal women. African Americans reported more chronic stress and had higher carotid intima-media thickness (IMT) as compared with Caucasians. Among African Americans only, the composite stress index and unfair treatment were associated with higher IMT. These effects were partially mediated by biological risk factors. African American who reported experiencing racial discrimination had marginally more carotid plaque than did those who did not report experiencing racial discrimination. The results suggest that African Americans may be particularly vulnerable to the burden of chronic stress.

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