Do experiences of racial discrimination predict cardiovascular disease among African American men? The moderating role of internalized negative racial group attitudes
Studies examining associations between racial discrimination and cardiovascular health outcomes have been inconsistent, with some studies finding the highest risk of hypertension among African Americans who report no discrimination. A potential explanation of the latter is that hypertension and other cardiovascular problems are fostered by internalization and denial of racial discrimination. To explore this hypothesis, the current study examines the role of internalized negative racial group attitudes in linking experiences of racial discrimination and history of cardiovascular disease among African American men. We predicted a significant interaction between reported discrimination and internalized negative racial group attitudes in predicting cardiovascular disease. Weighted logistic regression analyses were conducted among 1216 African American men from the National Survey of American Life (NSAL; 2001-2003). We found no main effect of racial discrimination in predicting history of cardiovascular disease. However, agreeing with negative beliefs about Blacks was positively associated with cardiovascular disease history, and also moderated the effect of racial discrimination. Reporting racial discrimination was associated with higher risk of cardiovascular disease among African American men who disagreed with negative beliefs about Blacks. However, among African American men who endorsed negative beliefs about Blacks, the risk of cardiovascular disease was greatest among those reporting no discrimination. Findings suggest that racial discrimination and the internalization of negative racial group attitudes are both risk factors for cardiovascular disease among African American men. Furthermore, the combination of internalizing negative beliefs about Blacks and the absence of reported racial discrimination appear to be associated with particularly poor cardiovascular health. Steps to address racial discrimination as well as programs aimed at developing a positive racial group identity may help to improve cardiovascular health among African American men.
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Volume (Year): 71 (2010)
Issue (Month): 6 (September)
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