Recent evidence suggests that experiences of discrimination contribute to socioeconomic status health disparities. The current study examined if the experience and regulation of anger—an expected emotional response to discrimination—serves as an explanatory factor for the previously documented links between socioeconomic disadvantage (SED), discrimination, and allostatic load.
Data were drawn from the second wave of the Midlife Development in the U.S. study and included 909 adults who participated in the biomarkers subproject.
Results revealed that perceived discrimination was associated with higher levels of allostatic load. Furthermore, we found evidence that perceived discrimination and anger control sequentially explained the relationship between SED and allostatic load, such that greater discrimination was associated with lower levels of anger control, which, in turn accounted for the effects of discrimination on allostatic load. These results remained significant after controlling for negative affect, other forms of anger expression, as well as demographic covariates.
Our findings suggest that low anger control may be an important psychological pathway through which experiences of discrimination influence health.
Zilioli, S., Imami, L., Ong, A. D., Lumley, M. A., & Gruenewald, T. (2017). Discrimination and anger control as pathways linking socioeconomic disadvantage to allostatic load in midlife. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 103: 83-90. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jpsychores.2017.10.002
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