The Elephant in the Room: Racism-Related Stress and Poor Health for People of Color
According to the American Psychological Association, stress is the "physiological demand placed on the body when one must adapt, cope or adjust. It can be healthful and essential in keeping an individual alert; however, intense or prolonged stress can be overwhelming on the body. Two of the major forms of stress are acute and chronic stress." So can one argue that racism-related stress can contribute to chronic conditions that can cause avoidable illness and death among people of color?
While it is safe to discuss social determinates of health, it is less safe to discuss racial determinates of chronic diseases and death among people of color. But the science on racism-related health is compelling and should be an integral part of health-equity discussions and improvement strategies.
By: James P. Young, Jr., PhD
Chief Executive Officer and
Assistant Professor, Healthcare, Business Administration and Human Resource Management