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Concept: African American


Most of the existing sociological and epidemiological literature has focused on the protective effects of high socioeconomic status (SES) on population health through reducing exposure to risk factors and increasing human and material resources that can mitigate adversities. Recent studies, however, have documented poor mental health of high SES Blacks, particularly African American males and Caribbean Black females. The literature also shows a link between perceived discrimination and poor mental health. To better understand the extra costs of upward social mobility for minority populations, this study explored ethnic by gender variations in the associations between SES indicators and perceived discrimination in an ethnically diverse national sample of Black youth. This study included 810 African American and 360 Caribbean Black youth who were sampled in the National Survey of American Life-Adolescent supplement (NSAL-A). Three SES indicators (financial hardship, family income, and income to needs ratio) were the independent variables. The dependent variable was perceived (daily) discrimination. Age was the covariate. Ethnicity and gender were the focal moderators. Linear regressions were used for data analysis in the pooled sample and also based on the intersection of ethnicity and gender. Considerable gender by ethnicity variations were found in the patterns of the associations between SES indicators and perceived discrimination. Financial hardship was a risk factor for perceived discrimination in African American males only. High family income and income to needs ratio were associated with high (but not low) perceived discrimination in African American males and Caribbean Black females. SES indicators were not associated with perceived discrimination for African American females or Caribbean Black males. When it comes to Black youth, high SES is not always protective. Whether SES reduces or increases perceived discrimination among Black youth depends on the intersection of ethnicity by gender. Additional research is needed to understand why and how high SES increases exposure and vulnerability to discrimination for some groups of Black youth.

Concepts: Black people, Race, Ethnic group, White American, African American, Caribbean, African diaspora, Haiti


Breastfeeding provides numerous health benefits for infants and mothers alike. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusive breastfeeding for approximately the first 6 months of life and continued breastfeeding with complementary foods through at least the first year (1). National estimates indicate substantial differences between non-Hispanic black (black) and non-Hispanic white (white) infants across breastfeeding indicators in the United States (2). CDC analyzed 2011-2015 National Immunization Survey (NIS) data for children born during 2010-2013 to describe breastfeeding initiation, exclusivity through 6 months and duration at 12 months among black and white infants. Among the 34 states (including the District of Columbia [DC]) with sufficient sample size (≥50 per group), initiation rates were significantly (p<0.05) lower among black infants than white infants in 23 states; in 14 of these states (primarily in the South and Midwest), the difference was at least 15 percentage points. A significant difference of at least 10 percentage points was identified in exclusive breastfeeding through 6 months in 12 states and in breastfeeding at 12 months in 22 states. Despite overall increases in breastfeeding rates for black and white infants over the last decade, racial disparities persist. Interventions specifically addressing barriers to breastfeeding for black women are needed.

Concepts: United States, Black people, United Kingdom, Race, White American, White people, African American, Hispanic and Latino Americans


BACKGROUND:This is the first peer-reviewed study to quantify diaper need, propose a method to measure diaper need, and explore psychosocial variables associated with diaper need in a large sample of urban, low-income families.METHODS:Data were derived from a cross-sectional study in 877 pregnant and parenting women. Mothers completed surveys on topics related to mental health, basic needs, and health care use. Logistic regression was used to estimate the relationship between diaper need and psychosocial correlates.RESULTS:Almost 30% of mothers reported diaper need. Hispanic women were significantly more likely to report diaper need than African American women (odds ratio [OR]: 1.96; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.51-3.33), and women ≥45 years of age were significantly more likely than women between the ages of 20 and 44 years to report diaper need (OR: 2.53; 95% CI: 1.21-5.28). Women who reported mental health need were significantly more likely than women who did not report mental health need to report diaper need (OR: 1.89; 95% CI: 1.16-3.09).CONCLUSIONS:Although a majority of studies have examined family socioeconomic status as income and educational and employment status, emerging research suggests that indicators of material hardship are increasingly important to child health. This study supports this premise with the suggestion that an adequate supply of diapers may prove a tangible way of reducing parenting stress, a critical factor influencing child health and development. There is potential for pediatric providers to inquire about diaper need and refer families to a local diaper distribution service as 1 method to reduce parenting stress.

Concepts: Health care, Logit, Medicine, Epidemiology, Poverty, Socioeconomic status, African American, Diaper


Cardiac rehabilitation (CR) referral is recommended for eligible patients, regardless of sex or race. It is unclear whether inequality in CR referral practices was associated with patients' long-term survival.

Concepts: Patient, Hospital, Race, Ethnic group, African American, Racism, Miscegenation


Background: Higher socioeconomic status is known to decrease the risk for poor mental health overall. However, African American males of higher socioeconomic status (SES) are at an increased risk for having a major depressive episode (MDE). It is not known whether perceived discrimination (PD) explains this risk. The current study used nationally representative data to explore the role of PD in explaining the association between high-SES and having MDE among African American men. Methods: The National Survey of American Life (NSAL), 2003, included 4461 American adults including 1271 African American men. SES indicators (i.e., household income, educational attainment, employment status, and marital status) were the independent variables. 12-month MDE measured using the Composite International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI) was the outcome. Age, gender, and region were the covariates. PD was the potential mediator. For data analysis, we used logistic regression. Results: Among African American men, household income was positively associated with odds of 12-month MDE. The positive association between household income and odds of MDE remained unchanged after adding PD to the model, suggesting that PD may not explain why high-income African American men are at a higher risk of MDE. Conclusions: Perceived discrimination does not explain the increased risk for depression among African American males of higher SES. Future research should explore the role of other potential mechanisms such as stress, coping, social isolation, and/or negative social interaction that may increase psychological costs of upward social mobility for African American males.

Concepts: Psychology, Gender, Sociology, Major depressive disorder, African American, Household income in the United States, Social mobility, Status attainment


Over the past two decades, the demographic profile of MDMA (ecstasy/molly) users has changed. In particular, African American MDMA use has risen in some cities. One explanation of this new trend is the drug’s recent popularity (as molly) in hip-hop/rap (HHR) music. Several top rappers endorse the drug as a way to have fun or get women “loose.” There are currently no studies, however, that investigate the extent to which African American MDMA users listen to HHR music or the influence that these pro-MDMA messages have on their use of the drug. To address this gap, the current study used survey data to (a) identify the extent to which HHR music is listened to by African American MDMA users and (b) assess the perceived influence of HHR music on their decision to begin using. Qualitative interview data are also presented to contextualize the influence of these messages on their use of MDMA. The findings of this study suggest that African American MDMA users are high consumers of HHR music and that pro-MDMA messages in HHR music are influencing their expectations of the drug and their decision to initiate use. These findings add to the limited amount of research on African American MDMA use and have the potential to inform future interventions.

Concepts: African American, Southern United States, Funk, Jim Crow laws, Democratic Party, Hip hop music, Country music


Nearly 9 million Americans live in extreme-poverty neighborhoods, places that also tend to be racially segregated and dangerous. Yet, the effects on the well-being of residents of moving out of such communities into less distressed areas remain uncertain. Using data from Moving to Opportunity, a unique randomized housing mobility experiment, we found that moving from a high-poverty to lower-poverty neighborhood leads to long-term (10- to 15-year) improvements in adult physical and mental health and subjective well-being, despite not affecting economic self-sufficiency. A 1-standard deviation decline in neighborhood poverty (13 percentage points) increases subjective well-being by an amount equal to the gap in subjective well-being between people whose annual incomes differ by $13,000–a large amount given that the average control group income is $20,000. Subjective well-being is more strongly affected by changes in neighborhood economic disadvantage than racial segregation, which is important because racial segregation has been declining since 1970, but income segregation has been increasing.

Concepts: Effect, Affect, African American, Sustainability, Racism, Household income in the United States, Racial segregation, White supremacy


To evaluate an epigenetic assay performed on tissue from negative prostate biopsies in a group of African American (AA) men undergoing repeat biopsy, and to compare accuracy for predicting repeat biopsy outcome to prior studies conducted in predominantly Caucasian populations.

Concepts: Cancer, Demographics of the United States, White American, African American, Southern United States, Prostate biopsy, Jim Crow laws, Democratic Party


When the economy declines, racial minorities are hit the hardest. Although existing explanations for this effect focus on institutional causes, recent psychological findings suggest that scarcity may also alter perceptions of race in ways that exacerbate discrimination. We tested the hypothesis that economic resource scarcity causes decision makers to perceive African Americans as “Blacker” and that this visual distortion elicits disparities in the allocation of resources. Studies 1 and 2 demonstrated that scarcity altered perceptions of race, lowering subjects' psychophysical threshold for seeing a mixed-race face as “Black” as opposed to “White.” In studies 3 and 4, scarcity led subjects to visualize African American faces as darker and more “stereotypically Black,” compared with a control condition. When presented to naïve subjects, face representations produced under scarcity elicited smaller allocations than control-condition representations. Together, these findings introduce a novel perceptual account for the proliferation of racial disparities under economic scarcity.

Concepts: United States, Black people, Perception, Race, African American, Scarcity, Racism, Multiracial


As the US elderly population continues to expand rapidly, Alzheimer’s disease poses a major and increasing public health challenge, and older African Americans may be disproportionately burdened by the disease. Although African Americans were generally underincluded in previous research studies, new and growing evidence suggests that they may be at increased risk of the disease and that they differ from the non-Hispanic white population in risk factors and disease manifestation. This article offers an overview of the challenges of Alzheimer’s disease in African Americans, including diagnosis issues, disparities in risk factors and clinical presentation of disease, and community-based recommendations to enhance research with this population.

Concepts: Alzheimer's disease, Epidemiology, Clinical trial, White American, African American, Mental status examination, Southern United States, Puerto Rico