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Cultur Divers Ethnic Minor Psychol. 2013 Oct;19(4):477-80. doi: 10.1037/a0032566. Epub 2013 Aug 5.

Within-group health disparities among Blacks: the effects of Afrocentric features and unfair treatment.

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  • 1Department of Psychology.


Prior research on the impact of Afrocentric features on health has focused primarily on a single feature, skin color. We explored the effects of two other Afrocentric features (lip thickness, nose width) on Blacks' health status and whether unfair treatment mediates any relationship between these features and health. A secondary analysis of a prior study of Black patients' health was conducted. Patients with strong (high lip and high nose ratios) and weak (low lip and low nose ratios) Afrocentric features (i.e., congruent features) had poorer health than patients with incongruent features. Unlike findings for skin color, congruence of features rather than strength predicted health. Congruence predicted perceived unfair treatment in the same manner. Importantly, perceived unfair treatment mediated the relation between Afrocentric features and health. The study suggests that even subtle differences in Afrocentric features can have serious long-term health consequences among Blacks. Clinical implications of the findings are discussed.

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