Explaining Elevated Health Risks of the Black Middle Class

Award Year:
Pamela Braboy Jackson
Health Disparities, Minority Health
Although life expectancy and overall health have improved in recent years for many Americans, African-Americans continue to experience higher morbidity and mortality rates than whites from heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes, and other medical conditions. Many of these disparities exist even when comparing middle-income African-Americans to lower-income whites. Pamela B. Jackson, Ph.D. examines this perplexing divide in her project, Explaining the Health Risks of the Black Middle Class. Her work considers the physical and mental health conditions that may be associated with race/ethnicity, gender, and socioeconomic status, the role of stressors, and the benefits of psychosocial supports. Dr. Jackson aims to develop an explanation of these patterns, analyzing the many groups within the African-American population and the stress that they experience from racial discrimination, residential segregation, and job discrimination. Her findings should help clarify which African-Americans are most at risk of poor health, the importance of social factors in determining health outcomes, and how interventions might be targeted to those most likely to benefit.