Stress, Health, and Disparities

Zinzi D. Bailey, David R. Williams

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

3 Scopus citations


Large racial inequalities exist in the onset, course, and outcomes of illness. Despite extensive knowledge of the size, trends, and determinants of social inequalities in health, much remains to be learned about the forces driving them. This chapter reviews knowledge of racial inequities in health and the potential contribution of psychosocial stressors. It describes patterns in the distribution of disease by race, and relationships between psychosocial stress and health. It explores how stress is experienced in the body and how psychosocial stressors are characterized. Evidence relating psychosocial stressors to health is examined, and biological mechanisms behind these relationships are discussed. Differential exposure to chronic and acute psychosocial stressors may be an important part of social experience, affecting health and contributing to health disparities. A comprehensive view of stressors could capture the full effect of stress on human physiology, health, and health disparities. Research and clinical implications of associations between psychosocial stressors and health are considered.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationNeurobiology of Brain Disorders
Subtitle of host publicationBiological Basis of Neurological and Psychiatric Disorders
PublisherElsevier Inc.
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)9780123982803
ISBN (Print)9780123982704
StatePublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


  • Allostatic load
  • Ethnicity
  • Health disparity
  • Race
  • Socioeconomic status
  • Strain
  • Stress


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