Project Summary

Growing evidence documents that racial disparities in maternal and child health and developmental outcomes are driven, in part, by racism. Yet little is known about the role of exposure to environmental racial bias (defined as individuals’ aggregate bias within a geographic area). Using multiple methods and participatory approaches, this study seeks to assess how environmental racial bias is linked with (a) maternal physical and mental health and (b) child physical health and behavioral functioning among Black families. Framed from a strengths-based, equity-focused lens of resilience and cultural assets, we seek to identify how family strengths, neighborhood assets, and receipt of social services may moderate relationships between environmental bias and health outcomes. 


This project will employ a multi-methods and participatory approach. In the quantitative component, we will build and analyze an integrated data set that merges national longitudinal data from the ECLS-B with publicly available measures of environmental racial bias (from Project Implicit) and neighborhood-level administrative data. Analyses will consider links between environmental implicit and explicit racial bias and Black mothers’ and children’s outcomes, and assess moderating roles of family strengths, neighborhood assets, and social service receipt. Qualitative data drawn from a participatory photovoice project will enhance the quantitative findings by shedding light on the “whys” and “hows” of the relationships identified and may identify additional strengths and protective factors.

Principal Investigators

Jacqueline Sims

Research Scientist, Boston University

Stephanie Curenton

Associate Professor, Boston University

Ann DiGirolamo

Research Associate Professor, Georgia State University

Project Timeline

9/1/2021 – 9/30/2023