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HHS HealthBeat (March 25, 2014)

Discrimination and families

From the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, I’m Ira Dreyfuss with HHS HealthBeat.

A study indicates strong family ties can help to offset stress-related biological damage associated with discrimination.

At the University of Georgia, Gene Brody looked at data on 331African-American young people. The study assessed family support and feelings of discrimination – and such things as blood pressure and stress-related hormones, which can raise the risk of heart disease and stroke.

Brody says those with family emotional support did not show biological effects tied to discrimination, while others did:

“Strong families provide their youth with arenas of support that allow young people to go to their families and air some of the uncomfortable experiences.”

The study in the journal Child Development was supported by the National Institutes of Health.

Learn more at healthfinder.gov.

HHS HealthBeat is a production of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. I’m Ira Dreyfuss.

Last revised: March 25, 2014