Many studies have shown how childhood experiences can have profound effects on physical and mental health later in life. Now, a new study from Georgia State University, is showing how racism affects children over time.
Dr. Sierra Carter is assistant professor of psychology at GSU and co-author of a study finding that African American children who experience early life stress from racial discrimination are at elevated risk for accelerated aging and depression later in life.
Dr. Carter joined On Second Thought to explain how the body reacts to chronic stressors like racism.
“Continuous exposure over time can wear and tear down body systems over time, leading to this premature, accelerated aging process that we see,” Dr. Carter explained. “Usually we have natural mechanisms where our body is reacting to stressors in a helpful way. But when it continuously has to work and recharge itself to battle different types of stressors, it’s never able to reach this calm balance on a continuous level.”
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