Sociology, Department of


Date of this Version



Published in Sociology Compass (August 2013) 7(8): pp. 630–643. DOI: 10.1111/soc4.12054


Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons Ltd. Used by permission.


Disparities in African American health remain pervasive and persist transgenerationally. There is a growing consensus that both structural and interpersonal racial discrimination are key mechanisms affecting African American health. The Biopsychosocial Model of Racism as a Stressor posits that the persistent stress of experiencing discrimination take a physical toll on the health of African Americans and is ultimately manifested in the onset of illness. However, the degree to which the health consequences of racism and discrimination can be passed down from one generation to the next is an important avenue of exploration. In this review, we discuss and link literature across disciplines demonstrating the harmful impact of racism on African American physical health and the health of their offspring.