EXAMINING THE UNIQUE AND INTERACTIVE EFFECTS OF PERCEIVED GENDER AND RACE BASED DISCRIMINATION ON EXECUTIVE FUNCTION AND DEPRESSIVE SYMPTOMS
|Alloy, Lauren B.
|Depression is a significant public health concern characterized by pronounced gender and racial and ethnic differences. One potential mechanism underlying these differences is the role of discrimination. Yet, our understanding of how experiences of race- and gender-based discrimination impact depression is limited by the slow acceptance of intersectional theory into psychological research. Further, models overlook the role of executive function in the discrimination – depression association, despite growing evidence that executive dysfunction is associated with both experiences of discrimination and depression. The current study sought to address these gaps in the literature by examining the independent and interactive effects of race-based and gender-based experiences of discrimination on executive function and depression separately, and to fully elucidate the direct and indirect pathways among discrimination, executive function, and depressive symptoms. Results suggested that lifetime, but not recent experiences of racial discrimination were significantly associated with current depressive symptoms. Further, results indicated that among White, but not Black participants, lifetime experiences of racial discrimination were associated with higher levels of current depressive symptoms. There was no significant association between experiences of gender discrimination and current depressive symptoms, experiences of either racial or gender discrimination and executive functioning, or combined experiences of racial and gender discrimination on either depressive symptoms or executive functioning. Exploratory analyses suggested that there was not a significant indirect effect between experiences of discrimination and current depressive symptoms via executive dysfunction. Although results did not fully support study hypotheses, they do suggest that among emerging adults’ experiences of racial discrimination constitute a salient risk factor for depressive symptoms, as opposed to experiences of discrimination more broadly. Further, day to day executive functioning may be more resilient to experiences of discrimination than previously suggested by the literature. An extensive systematic literature review also was conducted to examine the association between sociocultural stress broadly (i.e., experiences of stereotypes, prejudice, and/or discrimination) and executive functioning. Sociocultural stressors including stereotypes, prejudice, and discrimination have been shown to have detrimental effects on the executive functioning of stigmatized individuals. One potential explanation for this association can be found in the allostatic load model. Following this model, experiences of stress contribute to physiological changes in one’s body in an effort to maintain homeostasis. Although these changes may be beneficial in the short-term, chronic exposure to stress can result in lasting changes to one’s physiological and, as a result, one’s cognitive functioning. Yet, our understanding of allostatic load as it pertains to culturally derived, social stressors may be limited due to the examination of stereotypes, prejudice, and discrimination as disparate processes in the literature. The current systematic review aimed to 1) systematically review empirical studies regarding the impact of stereotypes, prejudice, and discrimination on executive function, 2) synthesize findings as they pertain to allostatic load within and across these sociocultural stress categories, 3) synthesize findings across different domains of oppression, and 4) identify current methodological weaknesses in the literature that warrant further study. Thirty-seven empirical studies met inclusion criteria. Support for allostatic load was found across all three sources of stress and in the context of several different domains of oppression, particularly gender, age, race, and ethnicity-based stressors. Further research is needed to more comprehensively evaluate this model longitudinally and across additional domains of oppression.
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|EXAMINING THE UNIQUE AND INTERACTIVE EFFECTS OF PERCEIVED GENDER AND RACE BASED DISCRIMINATION ON EXECUTIVE FUNCTION AND DEPRESSIVE SYMPTOMS
|Drabick, Deborah A.
|Ellman, Lauren M.
|Taylor, Ronald D., 1958-
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