Background: Previous studies have related adverse childhood experiences (ACE) to heart disease. However, more research needs to explore neural mechanisms and psychological factors that contribute to the pathway of adverse childhood experiences leading to heart disease. Purpose: The present study examines racial identity as a moderator of adverse childhood experiences and cardiac autonomic dysregulation as indexed by respiratory sinus arrhythmia. Method: Forty-six undergraduate students of African descent attending a Historically Black University in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States participated in this study. During the first phase, participants completed consent forms and questionnaires including the ACE Scale and the Cross Racial Identity Scale. Participants returned to the laboratory on a second occasion during which researchers employed an impedance cardiograph to record resting levels of interbeat intervals (IBI) and respiratory sinus arrhythmia (RSA). Results: Ordinary least squares regression analyses were conducted to test the moderating role of racial identity attitudes on the relationship between ACE prevalence and RSA. The overall regression model which included ACE prevalence, Multiculturalist attitudes, gender, and all interaction terms significantly predicted resting IBI. The overall model that included ACE prevalence, Afrocentric attitudes, gender, and all interaction terms also significantly predicted resting IBI. Participants with ACE and Afrocentric attitudes were more likely to have decreased resting RSA. Furthermore, in addition to ACE prevalence and Afrocentric attitudes, considering gender added 10% more explanatory variance in predicting resting RSA. Male participants with ACE and low Afrocentricity ratings were more likely to have decreased resting RSA. Additionally, considering gender with ACE prevalence and Miseducation attitudes added 10% more explanatory variance in predicting resting RSA. Discussion: Results and limitations are further discussed in the context of existing literature.
|Advisor:||Mwendwa, Denee T.|
|Commitee:||Campbell, Jr., Alfonso L., Harrell, Jules P.|
|School Location:||United States -- District of Columbia|
|Source:||MAI 58/04M(E), Masters Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Psychobiology, Developmental psychology, Psychology|
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