Discrimination-related stress, blood pressure and epstein-barr virus antibodies among latin american immigrants in Oregon, us

J Biosoc Sci. 2010 Jul;42(4):433-61. doi: 10.1017/S0021932010000039. Epub 2010 Feb 24.


Perceived discrimination has been linked to poor health outcomes among ethnic and racial minorities in the United States, though the relationship of discrimination-related stress to immigrant health is not well understood. This article reports findings from a preliminary study that examined blood pressure and Epstein-Barr virus antibody levels in relation to self-reported indicators of stress, acculturation and social support among 79 adult immigrant Latino farm workers in Oregon, US. Findings show that increases in discrimination-related stress predicted elevated systolic blood pressure (SBP) and Epstein-Barr virus antibody levels among male participants. Though female participants reported similar levels of discrimination stress, this perceived stress was not reflected in biological measures. Among women, greater English language engagement was linked to higher SBP, and more years in the US was associated with higher diastolic blood pressure. Study results suggest that male and female immigrants' physiological responses to stress may be influenced in distinctive ways by processes of adjustment to life in the US. If replicated, the finding that discrimination stress predicts elevated SBP may have clinical and public health implications given that elevated SBP is an established risk factor for cardiovascular disease.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acculturation
  • Adult
  • Antibodies, Viral / blood*
  • Blood Pressure / physiology*
  • Emigrants and Immigrants / psychology*
  • Female
  • Herpesvirus 4, Human / immunology*
  • Hispanic or Latino / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Interview, Psychological
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Oregon
  • Prejudice*
  • Sex Factors
  • Social Support
  • Stress, Psychological / ethnology*
  • Stress, Psychological / physiopathology
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology
  • Young Adult


  • Antibodies, Viral