The Role of Perceived Stress Reactivity in the Relationship among Race, Discrimination, and Heart Rate Variability
1 online resource (65 pages) : PDF
University of North Carolina at Charlotte
Despite having a greater risk for developing chronic health conditions like cardiovascular disease, overall African Americans have been found to have higher, healthier heart rate variability (HRV) compared to European Americans. This study sought to examine whether perceived stress reactivity mediated the relationship between perceived discrimination and HRV and whether race moderated the association between perceived discrimination and perceived stress reactivity. A total of 85 healthy undergraduates were recruited (42 African American and 43 European American). Participants were 18-24 years old, M=20.56 and SD=1.66 and included 46 females and 39 males. Following a pre-screen, eligible participants were invited into the lab where height, weight, body temperature, and blood pressure measurements were taken. Participants then completed a paced breathing exercise while their HRV was recorded. Afterwards participants completed questionnaires that included the perceived stress reactivity scale and the everyday discrimination scale. The analyses revealed that none of the study variables were associated with HRV within either group. Given that perceived stress reactivity was not significantly associated with either perceived discrimination or HRV, mediation and moderation analyses were not conducted. The perplexity of African Americans having higher HRV than European Americans despite the higher risk of developing poor health outcomes remains.
Gil-Rivas, VirginiaBennett, Jeanette
Thesis (M.A.)--University of North Carolina at Charlotte, 2018.
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