Stressful psychological, social, and physiological consequences for African Americans
A team of researchers from Wayne State University, the National Institutes of Health, Morehouse College, and the University of Michigan recently developed a model of how perceived racism, the subjective experience of prejudice or discrimination, leads to various psychological, social, and physiological stress responses among African Americans. Although the model is unique in that it deals specifically with perceived racism of African Americans, it is based on a well-known model of stress and coping proposed by Lazarus and Folkman in 1984.
According to the model, actions by others can be perceived as racist, which can lead to psychological and physiological stress responses, and over time, to physical and mental health problems if attempts at coping are unsuccessful. Additionally, the model shows that a variety of factors can influence the extent to which actions by others are perceived as racist, such as skin tone, socioeconomic status (e.g., education, income), self-esteem, sense of control, and expression or suppression of anger.
The researches comment that the model could probably be expanded to represent other ethnic groups.
Source: Clark, R., Anderson, N. B., Clark, V. R., Williams, D R. (1999). Racism as a stressor for African Americans: A biopsychosocial model. American Psychologist, 54, 805-816.