The impact of goal-striving stress on physical health of white Americans, African Americans, and Caribbean blacks

Ethn Dis. 2012 Winter;22(1):21-8.


Objective: To contribute to the growing understanding of U.S. black-white health disparities by examining psychosocial stress as an important contributor to physical health problems.

Methods: Data are from the National Survey of American Life, an integrated national household probability sample of White Americans, African Americans, and Caribbean blacks. Regression analysis was used to assess associations between goal-striving stress and hypertension, BMI, physical health problems, and self-rated health.

Results: After accounting for sociodemographic factors and three additional stressors--personal problems, lifetime racial discrimination, and everyday racial discrimination-goal-striving stress was a significant predictor of hypertension, physical health problems, and diminished self-rated health. Ethnicity moderated the relationship; the negative association between goal-striving stress and physical health problems was strongest for Caribbean blacks.

Conclusions: This study extends the research on goal-striving stress and adds to a growing literature documenting relationships between social processes and disease.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • African Americans / psychology*
  • African Americans / statistics & numerical data
  • Blacks / psychology*
  • Blacks / statistics & numerical data
  • Body Mass Index
  • Caribbean Region / ethnology
  • Female
  • Goals*
  • Health Status
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / ethnology
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Male
  • Personal Satisfaction
  • Regression Analysis
  • Stress, Psychological / ethnology*
  • United States / ethnology
  • Whites / psychology*
  • Whites / statistics & numerical data