Dr. Roland J. Thorpe, Jr., an associate professor in the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health’s department of health, behavior and society, has received a $770,000 grant from the National Institute of Aging to study the role stress may play in the mortality rate of Black men.
Black men have the highest mortality rate among American racial/ethnic subgroups, and their age-adjusted mortality rate in 2014 was 21.1 percent higher than white men. While several factors may account for these differences, including health care access, and poverty and socioeconomic conditions, stress has been implicated as a key determinant of Black men’s health. Stress is an ideal pathway for understanding health disparities because of its unique position at the nexus of social factors and potential stressors; psychological coping; and the associated physiologic response. Few studies, however, have explored the biological factors and markers that may help to explain Black men’s high rates of mortality and shorter life expectancy.
Dr. Thorpe and colleagues will use the grant to examine the role of stress in the trajectory of Black men’s health and mortality among middle-aged and older Black men in two population based studies. Dr. Thorpe is deputy director at the Hopkins Center for Health Disparities Solutions, which is based at the Bloomberg School. Dr. Thorpe is also director of the Center’s Program for Research on Men’s Health.