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The Importance of Biobehavioral Research to Examine the Physiological Effects of Racial and Ethnic Discrimination in the Latinx Population


A growing body of research is documenting how racial and ethnic populations embody social inequalities throughout the life course. Some scholars recommend the integration of biospecimens representing the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, neurological and endocrinological processes, and inflammation to capture the embodiment of inequality. However, in comparison to other racial and ethnic groups, there has been little research examining how Hispanic/Latinx persons embody racial and ethnic discrimination, much less resulting from institutional and structural racism. We provide a rationale for expanding biobehavioral research examining the physiological consequences of racism among Latinx persons. We identify gaps and make recommendations for a future research agenda in which biobehavioral research can expand knowledge about chronic disease inequities among Latinx populations and inform behavioral and institutional interventions. We end by cautioning readers to approach the recommendations in this article as a call to expand the embodiment of racism research to include the diverse Latinx population as the United States addresses racial inequity.

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