Racial/ethnic and gender differences in the association between self-reported experiences of racial/ethnic discrimination and inflammation in the CARDIA cohort of 4 US communities
Department of Quantitative Health Sciences
Medical Subject Headings
Inflammation; Prejudice; Epidemiologic Factors; Sex Factors
Biostatistics | Epidemiology | Health Services Research | Race and Ethnicity
Inflammation is etiologically implicated in cardiometabolic diseases for which there are known racial/ethnic disparities. Prior studies suggest there may be an association between self-reported experiences of racial/ethnic discrimination and inflammation, particularly C-reactive protein (CRP). It is not known whether that association is influenced by race/ethnicity and gender. In separate hierarchical linear models with time-varying covariates, we examined that association among 901 Black women, 614 Black men, 958 White women, and 863 White men in the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) study in four US communities. Self-reported experiences of racial/ethnic discrimination were ascertained in 1992-93 and 2000-01. Inflammation was measured as log-transformed CRP in those years and 2005-06. All analyses were adjusted for blood pressure, plasma total cholesterol, triglycerides, homeostatic model assessment for insulin resistance (HOMA-IR), age, education, and community. Our findings extend prior research by suggesting that, broadly speaking, self-reported experiences of racial/ethnic discrimination are associated with inflammation; however, this association is complex and varies for Black and White women and men. Black women reporting 1 or 2 experiences of discrimination had higher levels of CRP compared to Black women reporting no experiences of discrimination (beta = 0.141, SE = 0.062, P < 0.05). This association was not statistically significant among Black women reporting 3 or more experiences of discrimination and not independent of modifiable risks (smoking and obesity) in the final model. White women reporting 3 or more experiences of discrimination had significantly higher levels of CRP compared to White women reporting no experiences of discrimination independent of modifiable risks in the final model (beta = 0.300, SE = 0.113, P < 0.01). The association between self-reported experiences of racial/ethnic discrimination and CRP was not statistically significant among Black and White men reporting 1 or 2 experiences of discrimination. Further research in other populations is needed.