How Life Stressors Affect C-Reactive Protein and the Moderating Role of Education and Race/Ethnicity
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C-Reactive Protein is a measure of inflammation and a predictor of cardiovascular health (Simmonds, 2014). Prior research has shown that financial stress and perceived discrimination are linked to higher levels of CRP (Borders et.al. 2015, Beatty et.al. 2014, & Guardino et al. 2017). Less studied is the impact of education as a moderator of the link between stress and inflammation. The purpose of this study is to examine how life stressors impact bodily inflammation. The second portion of this study evaluates the education, race and ethnicity intersection by assessing how differences in education affect the strength of the association between life stressors and CRP for different race/ethnicity categories. Multiple group analyses in Mplus determined financial stress to be predictive of CRP levels for all race/ethnicity categories (Hispanic/Latino, Black/African American, White, Asian/Pacific Islander). CRP levels are higher for the less educated. CRP levels are also higher for Hispanics/Latinos and Blacks/African Americans as compared to Whites and Asians/Pacific Islanders. Higher educational attainment is not buffering the effects of life stressors on health for all groups. For example, high SES Hispanics/Latinos and Blacks/African Americans experiencing financial stress have higher levels of CRP than their lower SES counterparts.