Discrimination, Affect, and Cancer Risk Factors among African Americans

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Abstract:

Objectives: To examine whether stress or depressive symptoms mediated associations between perceived discrimination and multiple modifiable behavioral risk factors for cancer among 1363 African American adults. Methods: Nonparametric bootstrapping procedures, adjusted for sociodemographics, were used to assess mediation. Results: Stress and depressive symptoms each mediated associations between discrimination and current smoking, and discrimination and the total number of behavioral risk factors for cancer. Depressive symptoms also mediated the association between discrimination and overweight/obesity (p values < .05). Conclusions: Discrimination may influence certain behavioral risk factors for cancer through heightened levels of stress and depressive symptoms. Interventions to reduce cancer risk may need to address experiences of discrimination, as well as the stress and depression they engender.

Keywords: CANCER RISK FACTORS; DEPRESSION; DISCRIMINATION; STRESS

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5993/AJHB.38.1.4

Affiliations: 1: University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX, USA; Portland State University, Portland, OR, USA 2: University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX, USA. Lrreitze@mdanderson.org 3: University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX, USA 4: Department of Biostatistics, the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX, USA 5: Department of Epidemiology, The University of Texas School of Public Health, Houston, TX, USA; University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX, USA 6: Department of Health Disparities Research, the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX, USA

Publication date: January 1, 2014

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  • The American Journal of Health Behavior seeks to improve the quality of life through multidisciplinary health efforts in fostering a better understanding of the multidimensional nature of both individuals and social systems as they relate to health behaviors.

    The Journal aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the impact of personal attributes, personality characteristics, behavior patterns, social structure, and processes on health maintenance, health restoration, and health improvement; to disseminate knowledge of holistic, multidisciplinary approaches to designing and implementing effective health programs; and to showcase health behavior analysis skills that have been proven to affect health improvement and recovery.
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