The Role of Sociospatial Adversity in Shaping Racial Disparities in Adolescents’ Chronic Physiologic Stress

Jodi Ford, Ohio State University

The study investigates racial differences in chronic physiologic stress (as captured by hair cortisol) among a representative, urban sample of black/African American and white adolescents (N=500). The paper will address both the magnitude of the racial disparity in chronic stress and the contribution of activity space measures of sociospatial adversity (e.g. poverty, violence, disorder) to black-white disparities in this outcome. The study links data from two projects currently in the field. The week-long data collection period includes in-home youth/caregiver surveys and youth ecological momentary assessment and global positioning systems using Smartphone technologies. To date, 153 of 170 possible hair samples have been collected (90%) and 66 samples assayed. Preliminary findings indicate black/African American adolescents have higher hair cortisol levels than their white peers (b=0.05, p=0.02). Data collection is anticipated to be complete by 2/2015 and analyses finalized.

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Presented in Session 58: Environmental Stressors and Health