New NIH Study to Investigate Psychosocial Determinants of Cardiovascular Disease Risk in Urban African American Adults – School of Medicine News


The Biopsychosocial health laboratory at Wayne State University received $ 3,590,488 from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health to conduct a project titled “Cardiovascular Stress and Risk in Urban African American Adults: A Multi-Level, Mixed-Methods Approach.” .

The project, led by Samuele Zilioli, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Psychology and the Department of Family Medicine and Public Health Sciences, aims to provide a fine characterization of psychosocial factors associated with cardiovascular disease risk and inflammation. in middle-aged and older urban African-American adults.

Dr Zilioli said that despite the steady decline in cardiovascular disease morbidity and mortality in the United States over the past decades, African American adults bear a disproportionate share of this health burden.

“Most of the research in this area has focused on immediate medical risk factors – such as diabetes and dyslipidemia – for CVD risk,” said Dr. Zilioli. “It was only recently, however, that researchers began to consider the role of more distal risk factors, such as psychosocial stressors. Psychosocial factors – including neighborhood adversity; daily interpersonal stressors such as racial discrimination, social isolation and negative interactions with others; and emotional responsiveness to these factors – are believed to contribute to the causes and progression of CVD through their effects on health behaviors, stress-sensitive neuroendocrine axes, and immune processes. These factors are particularly critical for urban, middle-aged and older African Americans who experience unique stressors such as residential segregation, racial discrimination and prejudice, and who are more likely to be more disadvantaged on the job. socio-economically than whites.

Using a multi-method, multi-timescale design approach with a large sample of 500 Detroit African Americans aged 55 to 75, the study will identify and conceptualize critical psychosocial stressors for this population and model daily psychological, behavioral and biological pathways through these factors exacerbate the risk of cardiovascular disease.

“We expect our findings to have a substantial impact on public health as they will help model the most salient psychosocial determinants of CVD risk in African American adults,” said Dr Zilioli. “In turn, this model will guide the development of behavioral interventions to reduce the burden of disease in this population. “

The grant number for this study from the National Institutes of Health is HL153377.


Paul N. Strickland

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