Discrimination, Stress and Reactivity to Alcohol Cues
Introduction: Our study investigated whether discrimination affects psychologi-cal/physiological stress and alcohol craving.
Method: Participants (N = 92) were asked to recall and write about (a) a neutral, (b) a negative, or (c) a discriminatory experience in the past and then completed a cue-reactivity procedure assessing their alcohol craving. In addition, we assessed levels of perceived stress before and after the discrimination manipulation, chronic substance use and craving, prior perceived discrimination, and strength of racial/ethnic identity.
Results: Results revealed a small effect in which the discrimination condition increased alcohol cue-elicited craving relative to the other conditions. Chronic craving moderated effects of discrimination on cortisol levels. Self-reported stress levels were increased in the discrimination and negative memory conditions relative to baseline. Strength of racial identity served as a protective factor for substance abuse in those who reported chronic high levels of discrimination.
Discussion: We discussed the direct link established between acute exposure to discrimination and craving, and experimental evidence for the relationship between discrimination and self-reported stress, but also addressed potential limitations of this work. It is further discussed how some individual differences factors (e.g., chronic craving) predict physiological stress in discriminatory settings. This work underscored the role of racial identity as a protective factor against alcohol abuse in individuals reporting high levels of discrimination.
Journal of Social & Clinical Psychology
Stepanova, E. V.,
Echevarria, D. J.,
Collier, A. D.,
Cruz, C. S.,
Drobes, D. J.
(2020). Discrimination, Stress and Reactivity to Alcohol Cues. Journal of Social & Clinical Psychology, 38(10), 836-859.
Available at: https://aquila.usm.edu/fac_pubs/18060