Capturing the cardiac effects of racial discrimination: Do the effects "keep going"?

Lori S. Hoggard, La Barron K. Hill, De Leon L. Gray, Robert M. Sellers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

19 Scopus citations


Racial discrimination negatively impacts cardiac functioning, but few studies examine the more distal cardiac effects of racial discrimination experiences. The present study examined the momentary and prolonged impact of lab-based intergroup and intragroup racial discrimination on heart rate variability (HRV) and heart rate (HR) in a sample (N = 42) of African American (AA) women across two days. On day one, the women were exposed to simulated racial discrimination from either a European American (EA) or AA confederate in the lab. On day two, the women returned to the lab for additional physiological recording and debriefing. Women insulted by the EA confederate exhibited lower HRV on day one and marginally lower HRV on day two. These women also exhibited marginally higher HR on day two. The HRV and HR effects on day two were not mediated by differences in perseveration about the stressor. The findings indicate that racial discrimination - particularly intergroup racial discrimination - may have both momentary and prolonged effects on cardiac activity in AAs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)163-170
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Psychophysiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 1 2015


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Physiology (medical)


  • African Americans
  • Ecologically valid approaches
  • Heart rate
  • Heart rate variability
  • Perseverative cognition
  • Racial discrimination

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