College is a time in which young people face a large number of stressors, including academic adjustment, education, and career planning, evolving family relationships, struggles with financial independence, dating, and marriage.
Although all college students are susceptible to the effects of stress, ethnic-minority students may be particularly at increased risk for stress-related strain and illness. An environment with an especially limited number of multicultural individuals may increase the stress of acculturation. Evaluating the effect of supportive relationships and perceptions of social integration on mental and physical outcomes is important for understanding a college student’s life.
One important biological pathway by which having a supportive network may impact health is through cardiovascular functioning. Blood pressure is an indicator of cardiovascular disease risk. We are using ambulatory blood pressure (ABP) measures, which offer a large number of readings across the day, chronicling daily fluctuations and providing a more complete picture of cardiovascular functioning. This study is looking at the psychological and physiological impact of college life for ethnic-minority students.