Psychosocial Stressors, Depression, and Physical Activity among African Americans

Ivan H C Wu, Larkin L Strong, Nga T Nguyen, Dalnim Cho, Jemima John, Lorna H McNeill

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Objectives: In this study, we examined how racial discrimination and neighborhood perceptions relate to physical activity and sedentary behavior mediated through depression symptoms. Methods: Data were from the first year of a longitudinal cohort study, Project Creating a Higher Understanding of cancer Research and Community Health (CHURCH), based on a convenience community sample of church-attending African Americans collected between April 2012 and March 2013 (N = 370) in Houston, Texas. Measures included racial discrimination, perceived neighborhood problems and vigilance, depression (CES-D), physical activity (IPAQ-short), and sedentary behavior. Results: Main effects from the structural equation model showed that racial discrimination (b = .20, p < .01) was related to greater depression symptoms. The same pattern emerged for neighborhood problems, but the effect was not significant (b = .20, p = .07). Further, depression symptoms were related to less physical activity (b = -.62, p = .03) and greater sedentary behavior (b = .64, p < .01). Indirect effects showed that depression mediated the relationship between racial discrimination and neighborhood problems on physical activity and sedentary behavior. Conclusions: Depression symptoms are an important mechanism by which racial discrimination and perceived neighborhood problems impact physical activity and sedentary behavior.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)717-728
Number of pages12
JournalAmerican journal of health behavior
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Adult
  • African Americans/ethnology
  • Depression/ethnology
  • Exercise
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Racism/ethnology
  • Residence Characteristics/statistics & numerical data
  • Sedentary Behavior/ethnology
  • Stress, Psychological/ethnology
  • Texas/ethnology

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't


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