Menu Close

Striving While Black: Race and the Psychophysiology of Goal Pursuit


DeAngelis, Reed T. (Online ahead of print). Striving While Black: Race and the Psychophysiology of Goal Pursuit. Journal of Health and Social Behavior.


Population health scientists have largely overlooked anticipatory stressors and how different groups of people experience and cope with anticipatory stress. I address these gaps by examining black-white differences in the associations between an important anticipatory stressor-goal-striving stress (GSS)-and several measures of psychophysiology. Hypotheses focusing on racial differences in GSS and psychophysiology are tested using self-report and biomarker data from the Nashville Stress and Health Study (2011-2014), a cross-sectional probability survey of black and white working-age adults from Davidson County, Tennessee (n = 1,252). Compared to their white peers, blacks with higher GSS report greater self-esteem and fewer symptoms of depression and anxiety. However, increased GSS also predicts elevated levels of high-effort coping (i.e., John Henryism), neuroendocrine stress hormones, and blood pressure for blacks but not whites. I discuss the implications of these findings for scholars interested in the stress process and broader black-white health inequalities in the United States.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Journal Title

Journal of Health and Social Behavior


DeAngelis, Reed T.

Year Published

Online ahead of print

Reference ID