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Research Project: Childhood Obesity Prevention

Location: Children's Nutrition Research Center

Title: Mechanisms linking the social environment to health in African Americans

Author
item Mama, Scherezade - Md Anderson Cancer Center
item Basen-engquist, Karen - Md Anderson Cancer Center
item Lee, Rebecca - Arizona State University
item Thompson, Deborah - Debbe
item Wetter, David - Rice University
item Reitzel, Lorraine - University Of Houston
item Mcneill, Lorna - Md Anderson Cancer Center

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/20/2014
Publication Date: 4/24/2015
Citation: Mama, S.K., Basen-Engquist, K., Lee, R.E., Thompson, D.J., Wetter, D., Reitzel, L.R., Mcneill, L.H. 2015. Mechanisms linking the social environment to health in African Americans [abstract]. Society of Behavioral Medicine 36th Annual Meeting & Scientific Sessions, April 22-25, 2015, San Antonio, TX. Poster Presentation.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: The social environment may influence health directly or indirectly through psychosocial factors, such as perceived stress, depressive symptoms and discrimination. This study explored potential psychosocial mediators of the associations between the social environment and physical and mental health in African American adults. Participants (N=1467) completed questionnaires on social support, subjective social status, perceived stress, depressive symptoms, discrimination and physical and mental health. Mediation analyses found that low social support and subjective social status were associated with poor physical and mental health (ps<.01). Perceived stress and depressive symptoms were significant mediators of the relationship between the social environment and health in single and multiple mediator models (ps<.05), and perceived stress, depressive symptoms and discrimination individually and jointly mediated the relationship between the social environment and mental health (ps<.01; R2=44.6-51.4%). Results suggest that the relationship between the social environment and mental health is influenced by psychosocial factors. Health promotion efforts should address psychosocial factors, such as stress, depression and discrimination, in an effort to improve health-related quality of life in African Americans. Future research is needed to understand exactly how psychosocial factors influence health outcomes over time and contribute to modifiable behavioral cancer risk factors and health disparities among African Americans.