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“What Doesn't Kill You, Makes You Stronger”

“What Doesn't Kill You, Makes You Stronger” A robust body of research has shown that Black Americans are less likely than Whites to have psychiatric disorders despite the social and economic disadvantage and systemic racism that they face. This mental health paradox has been demonstrated across all ages of the life course, including older adulthood. One of the prevailing explanations for the lower prevalence of psychiatric disorders among Blacks pertains to the influence of psychosocial resources on mental health. Psychosocial resources can directly or indirectly support mental health through physiological and psychological pathways. They can also mitigate the adverse effects of social stressors of discrimination and other stressors on psychological distress and mental illness. Black older adults may particularly benefit from psychosocial resources because they have had a lifetime of experiencing and overcoming adversity. Although this cycle of stress adaptation can wear away at the physical body, it may facilitate mental health resilience. In this chapter, we review research on the relationship between psychosocial resources and mental health. The chapter begins with a brief review of the Black–White mental health paradox and the mechanisms through which psychosocial resources operate to influence mental health. We then review research on intrapersonal, interpersonal, and community-level psychosocial resources that are particularly salient for Black Americans. Throughout the chapter we highlight research specifically focused on Black older adults and discuss the cultural relevance of each resource to their mental health and psychological functioning. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Annual Review of Gerontology & Geriatrics Springer Publishing

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Publisher
Springer Publishing
Copyright
© 2022 Springer Publishing Company
ISSN
0198-8794
eISSN
1944-4036
DOI
10.1891/0198-8794.41.269
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

A robust body of research has shown that Black Americans are less likely than Whites to have psychiatric disorders despite the social and economic disadvantage and systemic racism that they face. This mental health paradox has been demonstrated across all ages of the life course, including older adulthood. One of the prevailing explanations for the lower prevalence of psychiatric disorders among Blacks pertains to the influence of psychosocial resources on mental health. Psychosocial resources can directly or indirectly support mental health through physiological and psychological pathways. They can also mitigate the adverse effects of social stressors of discrimination and other stressors on psychological distress and mental illness. Black older adults may particularly benefit from psychosocial resources because they have had a lifetime of experiencing and overcoming adversity. Although this cycle of stress adaptation can wear away at the physical body, it may facilitate mental health resilience. In this chapter, we review research on the relationship between psychosocial resources and mental health. The chapter begins with a brief review of the Black–White mental health paradox and the mechanisms through which psychosocial resources operate to influence mental health. We then review research on intrapersonal, interpersonal, and community-level psychosocial resources that are particularly salient for Black Americans. Throughout the chapter we highlight research specifically focused on Black older adults and discuss the cultural relevance of each resource to their mental health and psychological functioning.

Journal

Annual Review of Gerontology & GeriatricsSpringer Publishing

Published: Feb 1, 2022

References