Discrimination during adolescence has lasting effect on body, reveals a new study.
In both blacks and whites, everyday feelings of discrimination can mess with the body's levels of the primary stress hormone, cortisol, the Northwestern University research suggests.
In African-Americans, however, the negative effects of perceived discrimination on cortisol are stronger than in whites, according to the study, one of the first to look at the biological response to the cumulative impact of prejudicial treatment.
Researchers also found that the teenage years are a particularly sensitive period to be experiencing discrimination, in terms of the future impact on adult cortisol levels.
Lead author Emma Adam said that they found cumulative experiences matter and that discrimination mattered more for blacks, adding that they saw a flattening of cortisol levels for both blacks and whites, but blacks also had an overall drop in levels.
The study will be published in the journal Psychoneuroendocrinology.