Document Type


Publication Date



Currently, racial and ethnic differences in adverse birth outcomes and infant mortality are some of the largest and most persistent health disparities in the United States. This narrative review article synthesizes existing literature to present a conceptual model of how racism-related stress and adversity are critical determinants of such disparities. We describe how historical and ongoing racism has created conditions wherein women of color are disproportionately exposed to chronic, multilayered stress and adversity and how the biological consequences of exposure to these stressors confers risk for adverse birth outcomes. Next, we identify important priorities and considerations for future research, including the heterogeneity of racism-related stressors, biomarkers and mechanisms, chronicity and sensitive periods of exposure, developmental programming of lifespan health, resilience, and community-engaged research methodologies.


This article was originally published in F&S Reports, volume 3, issue 2, supplement, in 2022.


The authors



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.