Gender discrimination and women’s HPA activation to psychosocial stress during the postnatal period

Vanessa V. Volpe, Danyelle N. Dawson, Heidemarie K. Laurent

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1 Scopus citations


Stress due to discrimination may contribute to physiological dysregulation and health risk during the postnatal period. This study examined longitudinal associations between gender discrimination and women’s cortisol responses to subsequent stress. Mothers (N = 79) reported gender discrimination and completed mother-infant stress tasks with saliva sampling for cortisol at 6, 12, and 18 months postnatal. Multilevel modeling results indicated more overall gender discrimination was associated with higher cortisol. Changes in gender discrimination were not associated with cortisol over time. Gender discrimination may be a factor in women’s postnatal stress and associated health risk via the sensitization of physiological stress responses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Health Psychology
StateAccepted/In press - 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Applied Psychology

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