Associations between self-reported discrimination and diurnal cortisol rhythms among young adults: The moderating role of racial-ethnic minority status

Katharine H. Zeiders*, Lindsay T. Hoyt, Emma K. Adam

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Scopus citations

Abstract

Repeated exposure to perceived discrimination is thought to contribute to alterations in diurnal cortisol rhythms and to have implications for health. Discrimination may have particularly strong effects on racial/ethnic minority individuals, based on histories of past exposure and/or greater perceived implications of discriminatory events. Utilizing an ethnically and racially diverse sample of young adults (N=140; Mage=22.8 years) and a multiple-day naturalistic cortisol protocol, the present study examined associations between self-reported discrimination and diurnal cortisol rhythms, and whether this relation was moderated by racial/ethnic minority status. Results revealed that self-reported discrimination predicted flatter diurnal cortisol slopes for racial/ethnic minority individuals only. These findings align with theory suggesting that discrimination experiences are important among racial/ethnic minorities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)280-288
Number of pages9
JournalPsychoneuroendocrinology
Volume50
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2014

Keywords

  • Discrimination
  • Diurnal cortisol
  • HPA axis
  • Racial/ethnic minority young adults

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology
  • Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry

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