Race-Based Stress Reactions and Recovery: Pilot Testing a Racial Trauma Meditation

Candice Hargons, Natalie J. Malone, Chesmore S. Montique, Jardin Dogan, Jennifer Stuck, Carolyn Meiller, Queen Ayanna Sullivan, Anyoliny Sanchez, Carrie Bohmer, Rena M.G. Curvey, Kenneth M. Tyler, Danelle Stevens-Watkins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Twenty-six Black collegians were exposed to a vicarious racial harassment stimulus (VRHS) then randomized into a Black Lives Matter Meditation for Healing Racial Trauma condition or a silence control condition. Heart rate (HR) was recorded throughout the experiment. Semi-structured interviews were then conducted to elicit participants’ appraisal of the VRHS and meditation. Using a Qual:Quan mixed methods experimental design, this pilot study qualitatively categorized how participants (1) described their reactions to the VRHS and (2) appraised the meditation. Participants described three types of race-based stress reactions and reported mostly positive appraisal of the meditation, although some indicated that it would not be a preferred coping strategy. To triangulate the quantitative findings, we found a significant increase in HR during VRHS. The meditation group displayed statistically significant reductions in HR from stimulus to the end of meditation; however, there were no statistically significant differences between the control and meditation groups. Results have implications for understanding and facilitating race-based stress recovery.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Black Psychology
StateAccepted/In press - 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2021.


  • Black people
  • heart rate
  • meditation
  • mixed methods
  • race-based stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anthropology
  • Applied Psychology


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