Public Health Seminar Series:

Ethnic and Sex Health Disparities: A Social Psychophysiology Perspective by DeWayne P. Williams, Ph.D.

Monday, January 27, 2020 12:00pm-1:00pm Calit2 Auditorium
Seminar Abstract

Ethnic health disparities exist such that African Americans (AAs) are at an elevated risk for cardiovascular and other diseases in comparison to European Americans. Disparities in health also exist between sexes, as women typically report greater psychopathology (e.g., anxiety and depression) compared to men. Converging evidence suggests that lower resting heart rate variability (HRV) is associated with poorer mental and physical health outcomes. Paradoxically, in comparison to their respective counterparts, both AAs and women show greater resting HRV despite greater physical and mental risk. However little research has been conducted to identify potential psychophysiological mechanisms and outcomes associated with such paradoxical results. Importantly, both women and AAs often experience unique social stressors, such as discrimination and stereotype threat, that has been shown to negatively impact such stigmatized groups. My research aims to better understand how such social stressors significantly impact psychophysiological function and health in both women and AAs. During my presentation, I will discuss evidence of a potential bi-directional association between psychophysiological function and unique social stressors experience by both AAs and women; such an association may contribute to the health disparities paradox found between sexes and ethnicities.

Speaker Biography - DeWayne P. Williams, Ph.D.

DeWayne P. Williams, Ph.D.
DeWayne P. Williams, Ph.D. Chancellor's ADVANCE Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Psychological Science, UC Irvine
Dr. DeWayne Williams completed his undergraduate, M.A., and Ph.D. in psychology at The Ohio State University. His dissertation, completed in 2017 with a focus on psychophysiology, was on Ethnicity, Sex, and Vagal Activity: Differences in Hemodynamics Underlying Long-Term Blood Pressure Regulation. Dr. Williams also completed two years of post-doctoral training at The Ohio State University, and will complete his final year of training here at UCI for the 2019-2020 academic year. Dr. Williams’ research broadly examines health psychology with a focus on psychophysiological mechanisms underpinning inhibition, and how deficiencies in such mechanisms can impact self-regulatory abilities and overall mental and physical well-being. Dr. Williams’ research also works to better understand how ethnic differences in baseline physiological activity may negatively contribute to health disparities found between African and European Americans.

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