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date: 20 January 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Racial disparities in health are substantial and well documented. Differential exposure and reactivity to psychological stressors provide one way through which African Americans’ health is disadvantaged. Although supportive family networks buffer African Americans from the harmful effects of stressors, a growing body of work emphasizes the physical and psychological costs associated with African Americans’ family ties. This chapter summarizes research on racial disparities in health and well-being and illustrates the advantages of daily diary methods for examining links between race, psychosocial stressors, and daily health by describing Midlife in the United States (MIDUS) research on racial differences in the health implications of stressful experiences involving family relationships. Together, findings provide insights into how and when family stressors and social support demands compromise African Americans’ health and well-being. The chapter concludes with a discussion of the broader implications of the MIDUS findings and directions for future research on race and health.

Keywords: health, African Americans, family, well-being, daily diary methods, race, psychosocial stressors, MIDUS, racial differences, social support

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