A community-academic partnership
committed to fostering health 
equity in Detroit since 2000

Stressful Life Conditions

HEP’s earliest work in Detroit sought to understand associations between stressful life conditions and heart health in Detroit. We began with focus group discussions with community members about the types of stressors that they encountered in their everyday lives. We incorporated what we learned in that process into survey conducted with over 900 Detroit residents in 2002, and another with over 450 residents in 2008. Information from these surveys was used to understand the conditions in the lives of Detroit residents that create stress, and to understand who encounters what kinds of stressors in their lives.

We also examined relationships between stress and health outcomes. Our studies have documented associations between multiple types of stress (e.g., family stress, work stress, stress related to discrimination or unfair treatment) and indicators of health risk, including physiological indicators of risk (e.g., blood pressure, metabolic disorders), indicators of aging (e.g. telomere link). In addition, we have demonstrated that some stressors may increase the adverse health effects of air pollution on blood pressure. Understanding the ways that economic and/or racial inequalities can contribute to stress, and their associations with health outcomes, is central to building our understanding of the factors that may shape excess health risks in Detroit.

Please visit the Publications page to learn more about HEP’s research on this important issue. Relevant publications include: Geronimus et. al. 2015; Hicken et. al. 2014; Schulz et. al. 2013; Schulz et. al. 2012; Schulz et. al. 2008.


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