Taking It to Heart: Preliminary Investigation on the Cardiovascular Effects of Racial/Ethnic Microaggressions in Latinx.
Recent estimates from the National Vital Statistics System indicate heart diseases are the leading cause of death in the United States. Comparatively, Latinx demonstrate lower cardiovascular diseases prevalence, incidence, and mortality compared to non-Hispanic Whites or non-Hispanic
Blacks, a finding attributed to the so-called Hispanic health paradox; however, this does not mean Latinx people are immune from developing or dying as a result of CVDs. In Latinx communities, CVDs are the second cause of death.
This CVR hypothesis focuses on transient changes in blood pressure or indicators of electrical functioning of the heart assessed via impedance cardiography during race-based social interactions. Consistent with this hypothesis, blatant experiences of racial/ethnic discrimination produced exaggerated systolic blood pressure responses in Latinx in a discrimination lab paradigm. Furthermore, Latinx college students who interacted with a prejudiced non-Hispanic White confederate demonstrated significant increases in several BP and ICG indicators during the
anticipation and interaction phase.
Contemporary race-based prejudice and discrimination has taken on a gradual, subtle, and insidious nature, a phenomenon termed racial/ethnic microaggressions. These brief, subtle, and
ambiguous social interactions communicate hostility towards, and devaluing of, a stigmatized person or group; these are further categorized into microassaults, microinvalidations, or microinsults.
Given blatant discrimination findings, racial/ethnic microaggressions or subtle discrimination may act via an acute CVR pathway, thereby evoking greater reactivity in Latinx. However, there is only one unpublished study to-date with null findings, indicating a need to test this assertion as CVR reliably predicts the development of disease.
Soc Behav Res Pract Open J. 2020; 5(1): 1-7. doi: 10.17140/SBRPOJ-5-120