Pamela Braboy Jackson Ph.D.

Department of Sociology
Indiana University, Bloomington
Email: Discipline: Sociology Expertise: Disparities

Investigator Award
Explaining Elevated Health Risks of the Black Middle Class
Award Year: 2005 Although life expectancy and overall health have improved in recent years for many Americans, African-Americans continue to experience higher morbidity and mortality rates than whites from heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes, and other medical conditions. Many of these disparities exist even when comparing middle-income African-Americans to lower-income whites. Pamela B. Jackson, Ph.D. examines this perplexing divide in her project, Explaining the Health Risks of the Black Middle Class. Her work considers the physical and mental health conditions that may be associated with race/ethnicity, gender, and socioeconomic status, the role of stressors, and the benefits of psychosocial supports. Dr. Jackson aims to develop an explanation of these patterns, analyzing the many groups within the African-American population and the stress that they experience from racial discrimination, residential segregation, and job discrimination. Her findings should help clarify which African-Americans are most at risk of poor health, the importance of social factors in determining health outcomes, and how interventions might be targeted to those most likely to benefit.


Pamela Braboy Jackson is professor of sociology at Indiana University. Before that she taught in the department of sociology at Duke University. She has written widely in the areas of social psychology, medical sociology, health disparities, and the life course. For example, some of her publications include "Deviance Removal and Global Self-Esteem: Evidence from the Harlem Longitudinal Survey of Urban Black Youth" (forthcoming, with K. Henderson), "The Intersection of Race, Gender, and SES: Health Paradoxes," in Gender, Race, Class, & Health: Intersectional Approaches, eds. A. Schulz and L. Mullings (2006, with D. Williams), "Work Stress, Coping Resources, and Mental Health: A Study of America's Black Elite" (2006, with T. Saunders), "Health Inequalities among Minority Populations" (2005), "Social Sources of Health Disparities" (2005, with D. Williams), "Role Sequencing: Does Order Matter for Mental Health?" (2005), and "The Structure of the Life Course: Gender and Racioethnic Variation in the Occurrence and Order/Sequencing of Role Transitions" (2005, with A. Berkowitz). She has served as a member of several advisory committees for NIMH.