Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph. D.


Counseling and Human Development

Degree Program

Counseling and Personnel Services, PhD

Committee Chair

Pössel, Patrick

Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)

Hopkins, Katy

Committee Member

Hopkins, Katy

Committee Member

Hooper, Lisa

Committee Member

Miranda, Regina

Author's Keywords

rumination; blood pressure; discrimination; health disparities; hypertension


Social stressors, such as perceived discrimination, account for some health disparities by triggering a series of physiological responses (Selye, 1955) which may be prolonged by perseverative cognition such as rumination (Brosschot et al., 2005). In the current study, I investigated whether everyday discrimination is positively associated with both brooding or reflection rumination in Black/African American (AA) individuals, as well as whether brooding or reflection rumination mediate the potential associations between everyday discrimination and blood pressure. Data were collected from a community college sample and analyses were conducted using the whole sample (N = 286; 57.3% female; 51.6% White and 29.8% Black/AA; mean age = 24.5, SD = 8.4) along with subsamples of Black/AA participants (N = 76; 64.7% female; mean age = 27.4, SD = 11.2) and White participants (N = 147; 50.3% female; mean age = 23.2, SD = 6.4). I used Hayes’ (2013) PROCESS command tool for SPSS to run OLS regression procedures to calculate direct, indirect, and total effects. Everyday discrimination was associated with brooding (p ≤ .05), but not with reflection rumination within the Black/AA subsample (p > .05). Both brooding and reflection rumination were associated with everyday discrimination in the White subsample (p ≤ .01) and the overall sample (p ≤ .01). Neither SBP nor DBP was associated with brooding or reflection rumination in overall sample or any subsamples (ps > .05). The unexpected results may be related to the correlational study design and the unique nature of my sample. Limitations of this study include: possible issues with internal validity, cross-sectional design, inadequate power, and lack of ambulatory blood pressure monitoring. In spite of the limitations, this study contributes to the relatively small body of literature investigating discrimination, rumination, and cardiovascular outcomes and offers direction for future researchers.