African American Studies Research Works

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    The People’s Intervention: How #BlackLivesMatter Circumvented a Culture of Congruent Criminal Justice Policies in American States
    (Cambridge University Press, 2024-01) Peay, Periloux C.
    Since 2014, the #BlackLivesMatter movement has worked to initiate police reforms designed to increase accountability and reduce the extrajudicial killing of Black and brown people. However, policy designs are typically congruent—meaning the allocation of benefits and burdens is generally aligned with how the target group is perceived by society. How could the movement motivate policy noncongruent action that would likely burden police—a group privileged by their position within a congruent, punitive, and racialized criminal justice policy culture? An examination of the innovation and diffusion of 12 noncongruent police reforms from 2014 to 2020 suggests the movement’s demands (1) reoriented the political and social contexts that fueled past diffusion processes, (2) activated key institutional actors—Black lawmakers—who served as entrepreneurs in state institutions, and (3) reactivated innovative states to serve as “leaders” in a new wave of noncongruent reform. This analysis provides a useful framework to understand how marginalized communities and their allies can exact real policy change in a political environment known for its unresponsiveness to the demands of marginalized groups.
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    The Impact of Educational Attainment on Observed Race/Ethnic Disparities in Inflammatory Risk in the 2001–2008 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey
    (MDPI, 2015-12-22) Dinwiddie, Gniesha Y.; Zambrana, Ruth E.; Doamekpor, Lauren A.; Lopez, Lenny
    Inflammation has shown to be an independent predictor of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and growing evidence suggests Non-Hispanic Blacks (NHBs) and certain Hispanic subgroups have higher inflammation burden compared to Non-Hispanic Whites (NHWs). Socioeconomic status (SES) is a hypothesized pathway that may account for the higher inflammation burden for race/ethnic groups yet little is known about the biological processes by which SES “gets under the skin” to affect health and whether income and education have similar or distinct influences on elevated inflammation levels. The current study examines SES (income and education) associations with multiple levels of C-Reactive Protein (CRP), an important biomarker of inflammation, in a sample of 13,362 NHWs, 7696 NHBs and 4545 Mexican Americans (MAs) in the United States from the 2001 to 2008 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. After adjusting for age, sex, and statin use, NHBs and MAs had higher intermediate and high CRP levels compared to NHWs. Income lessened the magnitude of the association for both race/ethnic groups. The greater intermediate and high CRP burden for NHBs and MAs was strongly explained by educational attainment. MAs were more vulnerable to high CRP levels for the lowest (i.e., less than nine years) and post high school (i.e., associates degree) educational levels. After additional adjustment for smoking, heavy drinking, high waist circumference, high blood pressure, diabetes and statin use, the strength of the association between race/ethnicity and inflammation was reduced for NHBs with elevated intermediate (RR = 1.31; p ≤ 0.001) and high CRP levels (RR = 1.14; p ≤ 0.001) compared to NHWs but the effect attenuated for MAs for both intermediate (RR = 0.74; p ≤ 0.001) and high CRP levels (RR = 0.38; p ≤ 0.001). These findings suggest educational attainment is a powerful predictor of elevated CRP levels in race/ethnic populations and challenges studies to move beyond examining income as a better predictor in the SES-inflammation pathway.
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    Associations between Obesity, Obesogenic Environments, and Structural Racism Vary by County-Level Racial Composition
    (MDPI, 2019-03-09) Bell, Caryn N.; Kerr, Jordan; Young, Jessica L.
    Obesity rates in the U.S. are associated with area-level, food-related characteristics. Studies have previously examined the role of structural racism (policies/practices that advantaged White Americans and deprived other racial/ethnic minority groups), but racial inequalities in socioeconomic status (SES) is a novel indicator. The aim of this study is to determine the associations between racial inequalities in SES with obesity and obesogenic environments. Data from 2007–2014 County Health Rankings and 2012–2016 County Business Patterns were combined to assess the associations between relative SES comparing Blacks to Whites with obesity, and number of grocery stores and fast food restaurants in U.S. counties. Random effects linear and Poisson regressions were used and stratified by county racial composition. Racial inequality in poverty, unemployment, and homeownership were associated with higher obesity rates. Racial inequality in median income, college graduates, and unemployment were associated with fewer grocery stores and more fast food restaurants. Associations varied by county racial composition. The results demonstrate that a novel indicator of structural racism on the county-level is associated with obesity and obesogenic environments. Associations vary by SES measure and county racial composition, suggesting the ability for targeted interventions to improve obesogenic environments and policies to eliminate racial inequalities in SES.
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    Parenting in place: Young children's living arrangement and migrants' sleep health in South Africa
    (Wiley, 2023-07-11) Madhavan, Sangeetha; Wan Kim, Seung; White, Michael; Gomez-Olive, Xavier
    Migration research tends to treat childrearing as a secondary role for migrants. By prioritising the economic objectives of migration, most models present migrants as either delaying childbearing or, if they have young children, not living with them. However, migration has become increasingly feminised, the types of mobility more varied, while the returns to migration remain uncertain at best. At the same time, norms around childrearing are shifting, and the capacity of kin to take care of children may be weakening. In such contexts, migrants may not want to or be able to be separated from their children. Confronting such difficult decisions and their consequences may be reflected in poor sleep health for the migrant parent. We draw on data from the Migration and Health Follow-Up Study (MHFUS) in South Africa to examine the following questions: (i) To what extent is children's coresidence associated with sleep health for migrant parents? (ii) Do effects vary by sex of migrant? and (iii) Do effects vary by location of migrant? Results from propensity score matching confirm that migrants who coreside with all their young children are more likely to experience healthy sleep compared to those who have nonresident or no young children. However, stratified analysis shows that these effects are only significant for women and those not living in Gauteng province. The value of these findings is underscored by the need for research on the well-being of migrant parents who are negotiating multiple agendas in economically precarious and physically insecure destinations.
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    Black Lives and Black Research Matter: How our Collective Emotions Continue to Drive a Movement
    (Wiley, 2022-02-28) Dunbar, Angel S.
    The author discusses (1) how the collective emotional experience of the Black community has propelled two parallel movements, Black Lives Matter and Black Research Matters, (2) the state of developmental science as it pertains to Black youth, and (3) suggestions for future research to integrate across fields and to evolve beyond Black pain to incorporate Black joy. The author suggests that the palpable anger collectively felt and expressed as a community has propelled a host of social-political actions to dismantle anti-Black systems of oppression, including within academia. She highlights that the scholarship on Black youth development has driven innovations in theory and methodology that have influenced the field of developmental science broadly and recommends future research areas for consideration.
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    Changing use of traditional healthcare amongst those dying of HIV related disease and TB in rural South Africa from 2003 – 2011: a retrospective cohort study
    (Springer Nature, 2014-12-17) Mee, Paul; Wagner, Ryan G; Gómez-Olivé, Francesc Xavier; Kabudula, Chodziwadziwa; Kahn, Kathleen; Madhavan, Sangeetha; Collinson, Mark; Byass, Peter; Tollman, Stephen M
    In 2011 there were 5.5 million HIV infected people in South Africa and 71% of those requiring antiretroviral therapy (ART) received it. The effective integration of traditional medical practitioners and biomedical providers in HIV prevention and care has been demonstrated. However concerns remain that the use of traditional treatments for HIV-related disease may lead to pharmacokinetic interactions between herbal remedies and ART drugs and delay ART initiation. Here we analyse the changing prevalence and determinants of traditional healthcare use amongst those dying of HIV-related disease, pulmonary tuberculosis and other causes in a rural South African community between 2003 and 2011. ART was made available in this area in the latter part of this period. Data was collected during household visits and verbal autopsy interviews. InterVA-4 was used to assign causes of death. Spatial analyses of the distribution of traditional healthcare use were performed. Logistic regression models were developed to test associations of determinants with traditional healthcare use. There were 5929 deaths in the study population of which 47.7% were caused by HIV-related disease or pulmonary tuberculosis (HIV/AIDS and TB). Traditional healthcare use declined for all deaths, with higher levels throughout for those dying of HIV/AIDS and TB than for those dying of other causes. In 2003-2005, sole use of biomedical treatment was reported for 18.2% of HIV/AIDS and TB deaths and 27.2% of other deaths, by 2008–2011 the figures were 49.9% and 45.3% respectively. In bivariate analyses, higher traditional healthcare use was associated with Mozambican origin, lower education levels, death in 2003–2005 compared to the later time periods, longer illness duration and moderate increases in prior household mortality. In the multivariate model only country of origin, time period and illness duration remained associated. There were large decreases in reported traditional healthcare use and increases in the sole use of biomedical treatment amongst those dying of HIV/AIDS and TB. No associations between socio-economic position, age or gender and the likelihood of traditional healthcare use were seen. Further qualitative and quantitative studies are needed to assess whether these figures reflect trends in healthcare use amongst the entire population and the reasons for the temporal changes identified.
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    “On papers”: perceptions of synthetic cannabinoid use among black males under criminal justice supervision
    (Springer Nature, 2016-01-27) Richardson, Joseph B.; St. Vil, Christopher; Wish, Eric; Cooper, Carnell
    A number of studies reveal a strong linkage between SC use and avoiding positiveurine creens. Despite this work and given the high rates of criminal justice supervision among Black men in the U.S., little is known about SC usage among Black men under criminal justice supervision. In-depth qualitative interviews were conducted with 11 Black men under criminal justice supervision treated by an urban ED for violent injury. Themes that emerged from the analysis include 1) prevalence of use, 2)health literacy, 3) availability and costs, 4) negative side effects, and 5) criminal justice supervision. Criminal justice supervision policies are a contributing factor to SC use among Black men under criminal justice supervision.
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    Reported Sports Participation, Race, Sex, Ethnicity, and Obesity in US Adolescents From NHANES Physical Activity (PAQ_D)
    (SAGE Publications, Inc., 2015) Turner, Robert W.; Perrin, Eliana M.; Coyne-Beasley, Tamera; Peterson, Camilla J.; Skinner, Asheley C.
    Objective. To understand the relationships between participation in different types of leisure time sport activity and adolescent obesity, and how those relationships might differ based on race, gender, and household income. Methods. Data consisted of 6667 students that took part in the 1999 to 2006 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. The authors used adjusted Wald tests to examine differences in the prevalence of obesity (body mass index >95th percentile for age and sex) by sport for boys and girls separately. Results. Among adolescent youth age 12 to 19 years, 16.6% of male leisure time sport participants and 15.3% of female sport participants were obese, compared with 23.6% for male nonathlete participant-in-other-activities and 17.0% obesity rate for female nonathlete/participant-in-other-activities. For both males and females, reported participation in leisure time sports decreased between middle school and high school, and this reduction was associated with higher body mass index.