Discrimination has been associated with elevated cortisol as measured in saliva, blood, and urine. This study investigated the association between lifetime discrimination and hair cortisol concentrations, considered a measure of chronic stress. We recruited 180 young adults from diverse backgrounds. Participant responses to lifetime discrimination, home stress, and subjective status measures were recorded. Lifetime discrimination significantly predicted hair cortisol concentrations, supporting past research that discrimination experiences impact neuroendocrine systems. To our knowledge, these are the first findings associating hair cortisol concentrations with discrimination and supports prior evidence positing discrimination as a chronic stressor that serves as a risk factor for chronic disease.
Health Psychology Open January-June 2017: 1– 8
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O'Brien, KM, J Meyer, E Tronick, and CL Moore. "Hair Cortisol and Lifetime Discrimination: Moderation by Subjective Social Status." Health Psychology Open. 4.1 (2017). Print.