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Courtney Thomas, Assistant Professor, Community Health Sciences, UCLA

The Racial Self-Awareness Framework of Race-Based Stress, Coping, and Health: Evaluating Biopsychosocial Pathways among African Americans
When Sep 12, 2016
from 12:00 PM to 01:00 PM
Where 1101 Morrill Hall
Contact Name
Contact Phone 301-405-6403
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About the topic

Numerous paradoxical findings call attention to gaps in current knowledge of health disparities. For instance, African Americans, on average, have fewer socioeconomic resources, greater exposure to psychosocial stressors, and experience more chronic health conditions (e.g. heart disease, diabetes, hypertension) and premature mortality relative to non-Hispanic Whites. However, rates of psychopathology (e.g. major depression, anxiety disorders, substance abuse) are substantially lower among African Americans. These unexpected patterns challenge our understanding of racial health disparities; they also underscore the need for new approaches to assess the biopsychosocial pathways that link social environments, stress and coping experiences, and the biological processes that produce mental and physical health outcomes among African Americans. In this talk, I introduce the “Racial Self-Awareness (RSA) Framework of Race-Based Stress, Coping, and Health” to evaluate the ways that racial minority status transforms the stress process. I also apply this transdisciplinary framework in a recent study of African Americans in the Nashville Stress and Health Study to demonstrate the psychological and physiological implications of subtle, race-based stressors.

About the speaker

Seminar speaker Courtney Thomas

Courtney S. Thomas, PhD is Assistant Professor of Community Health Sciences in the Fielding School of Public Health and Faculty Associate in the Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Dr. Thomas earned a PhD in Sociology from Vanderbilt University in 2015 and was a University of California President's Postdoctoral Fellow at UCLA prior to joining the faculty in 2016. Her primary areas of interest include the psychobiology of stress and coping, racial health disparities, aging and the life course, and social stratification. Drawing on her training in medical sociology, Dr. Thomas uses mixed-method, transdisciplinary approaches to identify sources of psychosocial risk and resilience that contribute to gender and socioeconomic health disparities among African Americans.

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