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date: 26 January 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter provides an overview of how emotions can contribute to poorer health among stigmatized populations. First, it describes some of the primary affective responses that stigmatized individuals might experience, including externalizing emotions, uncertainty, and anxious affect. These affective responses can occur as a result of interacting with individuals who display subtle or overt signs of bias or perceiving a system as unfair, or they can occur from expectations based on prior experiences that shape perception. Second, this chapter reviews how these affective states may alter underlying biological processes to directly influence health. Finally, it examines indirect pathways whereby emotion processes potentiate health-damaging behaviors, such as poor eating habits, restless sleep, excessive alcohol and drug abuse, and risky behavior. Overall, research in this area suggests that affective experiences resulting from stigmatization can change biology and behavior in ways that can ultimately lead to poor health.

Keywords: Affect, Discrimination, Cardiovascular reactivity, Emotion, Health, Psychobiology, Neuroendocrinology, Race, Social neuroscience

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