Discrimination, family emotional climate, and African American health: An application of the BBFM

Jacob B. Priest, Shardé Mc Neil Smith, Sarah B. Woods, Patricia N.E. Roberson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


The Biobehavioral Family Model (BBFM) is a biopsychosocial model of health that has been substantiated across multiple studies. However, the findings of those studies are limited given the lack of representation of Black/African American individuals in the samples. Discrimination is a chronic and pervasive stressor for many African American families, yet little is known about connections between discrimination, family relationships, and health. Using Data from the Midlife Development in the United States (MIDUS) Milwaukee project (n = 592), this study tested the pathways of the BBFM with a sample comprised only of African American individuals Additionally, it tested how discrimination influenced the pathways of the BBFM. Results of model testing found that family support (above and beyond romantic partner relationship quality and family strain) was a key factor in respondents' mental and physical health and that family support mediated the association between discrimination and mental health. The findings suggest the importance of including discrimination when examining family health pathways for African Americans and exploring the influence of relationships beyond the romantic partnership when examining health.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)598-609
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Family Psychology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Aug 2020


  • African American health
  • Biopsychosocial
  • Discrimination
  • Family functioning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)


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