Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Kristen Salomon, Ph. D.

Committee Member

Jennifer Bosson, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Jamie Goldenberg, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Edelyn Verona, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Tammy Allen, Ph.D.


Health, Reactivity, Recovery, Rumination, Stress


Immigration has been pushed to the forefront of a national political debate, and immigrants are commonly portrayed as villains and vermin looking to invade and infest Western nations. These negative portrayals of immigrants may have negative implications for immigrant health outcomes. Among other negative health outcomes, studies have found that immigrant cardiovascular disease rates increase with time spent in the U.S. This phenomenon of decreasing immigrant health with extended U.S. residency has been labeled “the immigrant health paradox”, and discrimination has often been posited as a possible explanatory factor. In addition to discrimination, immigrants are often the targets of dehumanization, or the stripping away of one’s humanity, which may be perceived as more threatening than discrimination and may therefore have worse implications for immigrant health. To test the differential cardiovascular impact of the two experiences, I examined cardiovascular reactivity and recovery from 153 first- and second-generation immigrants during both a neutral and immigration speech task. For the immigration speech, participants were randomly assigned to read a fabricated article that either primed dehumanizing ideas about immigrants or one that primed discriminating ideas. Reactivity differences appeared between the two conditions, such that individuals reporting less experience with past mistreatment reacted more strongly to the immigration speech, but only for those primed with dehumanization. These effects were prolonged, such that dehumanized participants displayed poorer recovery after the task compared to those primed with discrimination.

Included in

Psychology Commons