Purpose: Chronic exposure to racial discrimination by pregnant African American women may lead to allostatic overload; thereby, predisposing women to systemic inflammation. Thus, the goal of this study was to examine if experiences of racial discrimination are related to systemic inflammation in pregnant African Americans. Methods: A sample of 96 African American women from Chicago completed questionnaires and had blood drawn during the second trimester of pregnancy (19.7 ± 2.5 weeks). Results: Experiences of racial discrimination were associated with higher cytokine levels of interleukin (IL)-4 (B = 2.161, 95% CI = 1.02-3.30, p < .001) and IL-6 (B = 1.859, 95% CI = .61-3.11, p = .004) when controlling for covariates. Conclusion: These findings suggest that experiences of racial discrimination may cause physiological wear and tear on the body leading to alteration of immune functions. Nurses should inquire about women's experiences of racial discrimination and make referrals for community or church support groups for women who report racial discrimination.
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