College of Science and Health Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award

Spring 6-10-2022

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Kathy Grant, PhD

Second Advisor

Jocelyn Carter, PhD


Current public health data underscore CVD as the most predominant public health crisis affecting the U.S population, claiming over 655,000 lives annually as the primary cause of one out of every four deaths (Kochanek, 2020; Rana et al., 2020; Salim et al., 2020). Current approaches to CVD primarily utilize a biomedical approach, are extremely costly to the U.S economy, and appear to disproportionately support positive health outcomes in White individuals while Black individuals continue to exhibit heart health disparities (Carnethon et al., 2017; Ferdinand, 2016). Race-related health inequities must be addressed with a biopsychosocial preventative health approach to effectively redirect the trajectory of CVD in this nation (Hatala, 2012; Lämmle et al., 2011; Nguyen et al., 2021; Zittel et al., 2002). This study aimed to identify whether the pursuit and/or attainment of external metrics of resilience and success by Black individuals in the U.S is associated with elevated signs of accelerated biological aging, also known as weathering (Geronimus et al., 2006; McEwen, 1998). Weathering reduces physiological vitality and thwarts the body’s ability to maintain homeostasis and regenerate from a range of health conditions including CVD. While educational attainment, high SES, and resilient coping are typically thought to be protective factors in health outcomes, skin-deep resilience theory suggests that high striving Black individuals may experience diminished health returns(Brody, Yu, Chen, Miller, et al., 2013a; Chen et al., 2015; Miller et al., 2016). The current study was a systematic literature review consisting of 18 articles and a mini meta-analysis using 6 articles from the review to understand the role that skin-deep resilience may have on weathering. Findings validate the phenomenon of skin-deep resilience and suggest a need to acknowledge race-related chronic stress as a social determinant of health, provide social supports to high achieving Black individuals coming for lower socioeconomic environments, provide early intervention to Black emerging adults who may be weathered from the effects of systematic racism.

SLP Collection


Included in

Psychology Commons