Psychosocial Factors and Risk of Incident Asthma

Asthma has reached epidemic proportions in the United States, and African-Americans fare worse than whites on all measures of asthma morbidity.  While psychosocial factors like experiences of violence play a role in childhood asthma prevalence and severity, there is little research on their influence on asthma in adults.

The objective of this study, part of the broader Black Women’s Health Study (BWHS), is to test the hypothesis that individual- and neighborhood-level psychosocial factors that may lead to stress increase the risk of adult-onset asthma in African-American women.  Specifically, we will estimate the relation between asthma incidence and perceptions of racism, experiences of violence during childhood and adolescence, depressive symptoms, and neighborhood characteristics including socioeconomic status, racial segregation, and urbanicity.   Psychosocial factors may be of particular importance in asthma incidence in black women because the prevalence of experiences of violence, racism, depression, and living in disadvantaged neighborhoods are higher than in white women. If such experiences increase the risk of adult onset asthma, they may contribute to the racial disparity in asthma morbidity.


Patricia Coogan, Sc.D., Principal Investigator
Slone Epidemiology Center

Lynn Rosenberg, Sc.D., Co-Investigator
Slone Epidemiology Center

Study Staff:

Jeffrey Yu, M.P.H.

Source of Funding:

National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute

Study Period:

2011 to 2014

Email Patricia Coogan, Sc.D., at