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Psychosocial Stressors, Depression, and Physical Activity among African Americans

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Objectives: In this study, we examined how racial discrimination and neighborhood perceptions relate to physical activity and sedentary behavior mediated through depression symptoms. Methods: Data were from the first year of a longitudinal cohort study, Project Creating a Higher Understanding of cancer Research and Community Health (CHURCH), based on a convenience community sample of church-attending African Americans collected between April 2012 and March 2013 (N = 370) in Houston, Texas. Measures included racial discrimination, perceived neighborhood problems and vigilance, depression (CES-D), physical activity (IPAQ-short), and sedentary behavior. Results: Main effects from the structural equation model showed that racial discrimination (b = .20, p < .01) was related to greater depression symptoms. The same pattern emerged for neighborhood problems, but the effect was not significant (b = .20, p = .07). Further, depression symptoms were related to less physical activity (b = -.62, p = .03) and greater sedentary behavior (b = .64, p < .01). Indirect effects showed that depression mediated the relationship between racial discrimination and neighborhood problems on physical activity and sedentary behavior. Conclusions: Depression symptoms are an important mechanism by which racial discrimination and perceived neighborhood problems impact physical activity and sedentary behavior.
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Keywords: AFRICAN AMERICANS; DEPRESSION; DISCRIMINATION; HEALTH DISPARITIES; NEIGHBORHOOD DISADVANTAGE; PHYSICAL ACTIVITY

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Postdoctoral Research Fellow, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Department of Health Disparities Research, Houston, TX;, Email: [email protected] 2: Assistant Professor, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Department of Health Disparities Research, Houston, TX 3: Senior Statistical Analyst, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Department of Biostatistics, Houston, TX 4: Instructor, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Department of Health Disparities Research, Houston, TX 5: Postdoctoral Research Fellow, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Department of Health Disparities Research, Houston, TX 6: Associate Professor and Chair, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Department of Health Disparities Research, Houston, TX

Publication date: July 1, 2019

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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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