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1.
ACR Open Rheumatol ; 4(5): 426-431, 2022 May.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-35178897

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVE: The study objective was to compare leukocyte telomere length (LTL) among patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) diagnosed in childhood versus adulthood. METHODS: Data are from the Black Women's Experiences Living with Lupus (BeWELL) study. Multivariable linear regression analyses that examined childhood diagnosis of SLE (diagnosed before 18 years of age), age, and their interaction in relationship to LTL were conducted, adjusting for a range of demographic, socioeconomic, and health-related covariates. RESULTS: The total analytic sample size was 415. Forty participants (9.6%) were diagnosed in childhood. There was no main effect of childhood diagnosis on LTL (b = 0.007; 95% confidence interval [CI]: -0.089 to 0.103). However, the interaction between age and childhood diagnosis was significant (b = -0.008; 95% CI: -0.016 to -0.001), indicating a steeper inverse association between age and LTL among those diagnosed in childhood compared with those diagnosed in adulthood. This interaction remained statistically significant (P = 0.024) after controlling for disease duration measured dichotomously (less than 10 years vs. 10 years or more); it was marginally significant (P = 0.083) when controlling for disease duration measured continuously. CONCLUSION: This cross-sectional analysis suggests that Black women with childhood-onset SLE may undergo accelerated LTL shortening compared with their adult-onset counterparts. This relationship persisted even after controlling for differences in SLE damage and disease duration. These findings inform research on immunosenescence mechanisms of SLE.

3.
J Behav Med ; 44(6): 760-771, 2021 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-34159500

ABSTRACT

African American women with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) have worse disease outcomes compared to their White counterparts. Stressors associated with race may contribute to poorer health in this population through maladaptive behavioral pathways. This study investigated relationships between stress associated with anticipating racism, smoking, and SLE disease activity. Data were from 432 African American women with SLE in the Black Women's Experiences Living with Lupus (BeWELL) Study. Controlling for sociodemographic and health-related covariates, multivariable regression analyses revealed a significant association between anticipatory racism stress (ARS) and disease activity (p = 0.00, b = 1.13, 95% CI [0.43, 1.82]). A significant interaction between ARS and smoking also indicated that smoking exacerbated the effect of ARS on disease activity (p = 0.04, b = 1.95, CI = 0.04, 3.96). Test for evidence of smoking mediating the effect of ARS on disease activity were not statistically significant (z = 1.77, p = 0.08). Findings have implications for future SLE disparities research among African American women with SLE.


Subject(s)
Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic , Racism , African Americans , Female , Humans , Smoking
4.
Health Place ; 70: 102587, 2021 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-34116496

ABSTRACT

Depression is a common comorbidity among Black women with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), an understudied autoimmune disease characterized by major racial and gender inequities. Research is needed that examines how area-level factors influence risk of depression in this population. Latent profile analysis revealed four neighborhood typologies among metropolitan Atlanta, Georgia census tracts that participants (n=438) in the Black Women's Experiences Living with Lupus (BeWELL) Study were living in: Integrated/High-SES, Moderately Segregated/Mid-SES, Highly Segregated/Mid-SES, and Highly Segregated/Low-SES. Structural equation models indicated that highly segregated census tracts were associated with the greatest levels of depression via increased subjective assessments of neighborhood disorder. Policies that invest in segregated areas and address physical and social aspects of the environment that contribute to neighborhood disorder may promote mental health among Black women with SLE.


Subject(s)
Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic , Social Segregation , Censuses , Depression/epidemiology , Female , Humans , Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic/epidemiology , Residence Characteristics
5.
Public Health Rep ; 136(4): 508-517, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-34034574

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVES: Experiences of vicarious racism-hearing about racism directed toward one's racial group or racist acts committed against other racial group members-and vigilance about racial discrimination have been salient during the COVID-19 pandemic. This study examined vicarious racism and vigilance in relation to symptoms of depression and anxiety among Asian and Black Americans. METHODS: We used data from a cross-sectional study of 604 Asian American and 844 Black American adults aged ≥18 in the United States recruited from 5 US cities from May 21 through July 15, 2020. Multivariable linear regression models examined levels of depression and anxiety by self-reported vicarious racism and vigilance. RESULTS: Controlling for sociodemographic characteristics, among both Asian and Black Americans, greater self-reported vicarious racism was associated with more symptoms of depression (Asian: ß = 1.92 [95% CI, 0.97-2.87]; Black: ß = 1.72 [95% CI, 0.95-2.49]) and anxiety (Asian: ß = 2.40 [95% CI, 1.48-3.32]; Black: ß = 1.98 [95% CI, 1.17-2.78]). Vigilance was also positively related to symptoms of depression (Asian: ß = 1.54 [95% CI, 0.58-2.50]; Black: ß = 0.90 [95% CI, 0.12-1.67]) and anxiety (Asian: ß = 1.98 [95% CI, 1.05-2.91]; Black: ß = 1.64 [95% CI, 0.82-2.45]). CONCLUSIONS: Mental health problems are a pressing concern during the COVID-19 pandemic. Results from our study suggest that heightened racist sentiment, harassment, and violence against Asian and Black Americans contribute to increased risk of depression and anxiety via vicarious racism and vigilance. Public health efforts during this period should address endemic racism as well as COVID-19.


Subject(s)
African Americans/psychology , Anxiety/ethnology , Asian Americans/psychology , COVID-19/psychology , Depression/ethnology , Racism/psychology , Adult , Anxiety/etiology , Cross-Sectional Studies , Depression/etiology , Female , Humans , Linear Models , Male , Racism/statistics & numerical data , United States/epidemiology
6.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A ; 118(17)2021 04 27.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-33875593

ABSTRACT

Highly public anti-Black violence in the United States may cause widely experienced distress for Black Americans. This study identifies 49 publicized incidents of racial violence and quantifies national interest based on Google searches; incidents include police killings of Black individuals, decisions not to indict or convict the officer involved, and hate crime murders. Weekly time series of population mental health are produced for 2012 through 2017 using two sources: 1) Google Trends as national search volume for psychological distress terms and 2) the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) as average poor mental health days in the past 30 d among Black respondents (mean weekly sample size of 696). Autoregressive moving average (ARMA) models accounted for autocorrelation, monthly unemployment, season and year effects, 52-wk lags, news-related searches for suicide (for Google Trends), and depression prevalence and percent female (for BRFSS). National search interest varied more than 100-fold between racial violence incidents. Black BRFSS respondents reported 0.26 more poor mental health days during weeks with two or more racial incidents relative to none, and 0.13 more days with each log10 increase in national interest. Estimates were robust to sensitivity tests, including controlling for monthly number of Black homicide victims and weekly search interest in riots. As expected, racial incidents did not predict average poor mental health days among White BRFSS respondents. Results with national psychological distress from Google Trends were mixed but generally unsupportive of hypotheses. Reducing anti-Black violence may benefit Black Americans' mental health nationally.


Subject(s)
African Americans/psychology , Exposure to Violence/trends , Mental Health/trends , Adult , Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S. , Ethnic Violence/psychology , Ethnic Violence/trends , Exposure to Violence/psychology , Female , Humans , Internet Use/trends , Male , Middle Aged , Population Surveillance , Prevalence , Racism/psychology , Racism/trends , United States , Violence/psychology , Violence/trends
7.
J Health Psychol ; 26(13): 2374-2389, 2021 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-32228184

ABSTRACT

Disparate health consequences in African American women with systemic lupus erythematosus include greater severity of physical and psychological distress. Racism-related stress is also related to psychological distress correlates in this population. This study examined the relationships between racism-related experiences, psychological distress, and systemic lupus erythematosus activity in 430 African American women from the Black Women's Experiences Living with Lupus study. The structural equation model suggests that psychological distress mediates the relationship between racism-related stress and systemic lupus erythematosus disease activity. The impact of racism-related stress on systemic lupus erythematosus disease activity may occur primarily through their impact on psychological health variables. Implications for clinical care and future directions are explored.


Subject(s)
Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic , Psychological Distress , Racism , African Americans , Female , Humans , Stress, Psychological
8.
Health Psychol ; 39(3): 209-219, 2020 Mar.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-31928029

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVE: Telomeres are protective sequences of DNA capping the ends of chromosomes that shorten over time. Leukocyte telomere length (LTL) is posited to reflect the replicative history of cells and general systemic aging of the organism. Chronic stress exposure leads to accelerated LTL shortening, which has been linked to increased susceptibility to and faster progression of aging-related diseases. This study examined longitudinal associations between LTL and experiences of racial discrimination, a qualitatively unique source of minority psychosocial stress, among African Americans. METHOD: Data are from 391 African Americans in the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) Telomere Ancillary Study. We examined the number of domains in which racial discrimination was experienced in relation to LTL collected in Years 15 and 25 (Y15: 2000/2001; Y25: 2010/2011). Multivariable linear regression examined if racial discrimination was associated with LTL. Latent change score analysis (LCS) examined changes in racial discrimination and LTL in relation to one another. RESULTS: Controlling for racial discrimination at Y15, multivariable linear regression analyses indicated that racial discrimination at Y25 was significantly associated with LTL at Y25. This relationship remained robust after adjusting for LTL at Y15 (b = -.019, p = .015). Consistent with this finding, LCS revealed that increases in experiences of racial discrimination were associated with faster 10-year LTL shortening (b = -.019, p = .015). CONCLUSIONS: This study adds to evidence that racial discrimination contributes to accelerated physiologic weathering and health declines among African Americans through its impact on biological systems, including via its effects on telomere attrition. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2020 APA, all rights reserved).


Subject(s)
African Americans/genetics , Coronary Artery Disease/etiology , Racism/psychology , Telomere Shortening/genetics , Adolescent , Adult , Female , Humans , Male , Young Adult
9.
J Racial Ethn Health Disparities ; 6(5): 1044-1051, 2019 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-31215018

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Indirect or vicarious exposure to racism (e.g., hearing about or observing acts of racism or discrimination) is a salient source of stress for African Americans. Emerging research suggests that these "secondhand" experiences of racism may contribute to racial health inequities through stress-mediated pathways. Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is an inflammatory autoimmune disease that disproportionately impacts African American women and is characterized by racial disparities in severity. Health outcomes in this population may be susceptible to vicarious racism given that SLE is shown to be sensitive to psychosocial stress. METHODS: Data are from 431 African American women with SLE living in Atlanta, Georgia in the Black Women's Experiences Living with Lupus (BeWELL) Study (2015-2017). Vicarious racism stress was measured with four items assessing distress from (1) hearing about racism in the news; (2) experiences of racism among friends or family; (3) witnessing racism in public; and (4) racism depicted in movies and television shows. Multivariable linear regression was used to examine associations with disease activity measured using the Systemic Lupus Activity Questionnaire. RESULTS: Adjusting for sociodemographic and health-related covariates, vicarious racism stress was associated with greater disease activity (b = 2.15; 95% CI = 1.04-3.27). This association persisted even after adjustment for personal experiences of racial discrimination (b = 1.80; 95% CI = 0.67-2.92). CONCLUSIONS: Vicarious racism may result in heightened disease activity and contribute to racial disparities in SLE. Our findings suggest that acts of racism committed against members of one's racial group may have distinct health consequences beyond the immediate victim or target.


Subject(s)
African Americans/psychology , Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic/ethnology , Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic/psychology , Racism/psychology , Stress, Psychological/ethnology , Adult , African Americans/statistics & numerical data , Cohort Studies , Female , Georgia , Humans , Middle Aged , Surveys and Questionnaires
10.
Am J Epidemiol ; 188(8): 1434-1443, 2019 08 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-31062841

ABSTRACT

Black women are disproportionately affected by systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), a chronic, potentially debilitating autoimmune disease, and they also experience more rapid progression and worse outcomes compared with other groups. We examined if racial discrimination is associated with disease outcomes among 427 black women with a validated diagnosis of SLE, who live in the Atlanta, Georgia, metropolitan area, and were recruited to the Black Women's Experiences Living with Lupus Study (2015-2017). Frequency of self-reported experiences of racial discrimination in domains such as employment, housing, and medical settings was assessed using the Experiences of Discrimination measure. SLE activity in the previous 3 months, including symptoms of fatigue, fever, skin rashes, and ulcers, was measured using the Systemic Lupus Activity Questionnaire; irreversible damage to an organ or system was measured using the Brief Index of Lupus Damage. Results of multivariable linear regression analyses examining the Systemic Lupus Activity Questionnaire and log-transformed Brief Index of Lupus Damage scores indicated that increasing frequency of racial discrimination was associated with greater SLE activity (b = 2.00, 95% confidence interval: 1.32, 2.68) and organ damage (b = 0.08, 95% confidence interval: 0.02, 0.13). Comprehensive efforts to address disparities in SLE severity should include policies that address issues of racial discrimination.


Subject(s)
African Americans , Healthcare Disparities/statistics & numerical data , Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic/complications , Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic/ethnology , Racism , Cross-Sectional Studies , Female , Georgia/epidemiology , Humans , Incidence , Middle Aged , Prevalence , Registries , Severity of Illness Index , Surveys and Questionnaires
11.
Soc Sci Med ; 199: 49-55, 2018 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-28454665

ABSTRACT

There is increasing evidence that racism is a cause of poor health outcomes in the United States, including adverse birth outcomes among Blacks. However, research on the health consequences of racism has faced measurement challenges due to the more subtle nature of contemporary racism, which is not necessarily amenable to assessment through traditionally used survey methods. In this study, we circumvent some of these limitations by examining a previously developed Internet query-based proxy of area racism (Stephens-Davidowitz, 2014) in relation to preterm birth and low birthweight among Blacks. Area racism was measured in 196 designated market areas as the proportion of total Google searches conducted between 2004 and 2007 containing the "n-word." This measure was linked to county-level birth data among Blacks between 2005 and 2008, which were compiled by the National Center for Health Statistics; preterm birth and low birthweight were defined as <37 weeks gestation and <2500 g, respectively. After adjustment for maternal age, Census region, and county-level measures of urbanicity, percent of the Black population, education, and poverty, we found that each standard deviation increase in area racism was associated with relative increases of 5% in the prevalence of preterm birth and 5% in the prevalence of low birthweight among Blacks. Our study provides evidence for the utility of an Internet query-based measure as a proxy for racism at the area-level in epidemiologic studies, and is also suggestive of the role of racism in contributing to poor birth outcomes among Blacks.


Subject(s)
African Americans/statistics & numerical data , Health Status Disparities , Infant, Low Birth Weight , Premature Birth/ethnology , Racism , Adolescent , Adult , Female , Humans , Infant, Newborn , Internet , Pregnancy , United States/epidemiology , Young Adult
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