Loyola University Chicago

Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing

Jorgia Connor PhD, RN

Cumulative Stress and Risk of Type 2 Diabetes in Filipino Immigrant Women and their Adult Daughters: A pilot study

‌Investigator: Jorgia Connor PhD, RN

Type 2 diabetes (T2D) is a major public health concern, and Filipino women are disproportionately burdened with T2D. In fact some studies reveal that Filipino women have six-fold greater odds of developing T2D, as compared to Caucasian women, despite similar body size. The reasons for this disparity in T2D risk remain unclear. One pathway that may place Filipino women at higher risk for T2D is greater exposure to stress, which accumulates over time, increasing allostatic load. Cumulative life stress exposure (i.e., allostatic load) is theorized to contribute to T2D through dysregulation of inflammatory and neuroendocrine pathways, which increase the cellular aging process.  In immigrants, exposure to life stress has predicted accelerated development and progression of diseases of aging, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and early mortality. Therefore, it is vital to consider the contribution of cumulative life stress exposure as a major determinant of T2D in Filipino immigrants who experience multiple challenges across their lifespan. The specific aims of this ongoing pilot study are to 1) Determine the association among cumulative life stress, biomarkers of stress, and risk for T2D, 2) Evaluate the influence of acculturation and psychosocial resources on the association between cumulative life stress and risk for T2D, and 3) Explore and compare cumulative life stress, acculturation, and biomarkers of stress in Filipino immigrant women and their daughters. Findings will advance the understanding of modifiable psychosocial and behavioral risk and protective factors that shape T2D progression in Filipino women and provide a basis for developing culturally appropriate strategies to improve health in this at-risk, underserved, and growing U.S. population subgroup.