Michelle Rodrigues

Grant Type

Post PhD Research Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Illinois, Urbana, U. of

Grant number

Gr. 9743

Approve Date

October 23, 2018

Project Title

Rodrigues, Dr. Michelle A., U. of Illinois, Urbana, IL - To aid research on 'The Biological Impact of Tend-and-Befriend Strategies: How Female Social Relationships Mediate Stress in Female Scientists'

Preliminary abstract: Modern anthropology is no longer the study of the foreign ‘other’: today we explore the effects of culturally-shaped social experiences on both dominant and marginalized groups next door. In this project I will compare the effects of racial and gender discrimination between women of color and white women scientists to understand the embodiment of stress via cortisol and systemic inflammation, and how it is affect by social identity. Invoking tend-and-befriend theory, I will look at the ways in which social support, particularly female friendship, moderates the embodiment of stress. I will examine this question in female scientists of color (N=20) and white female scientists (N=20) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to determine the impact of both gendered and racial discrimination. I will measure workplace stressors via validated measures of incivility, racial microaggressions, and daily diary reports, and examine their effects on daily mood, perceived stress, workplace engagement, depressive symptoms, cortisol concentration, and inflammatory biomarkers. I will measure female friendship, female network size, romantic partners, and overall network size via an inventory of close relationships and use this data to examine if female friendship and female support networks specifically moderate the effect of workplace stressors on multiple markers of psychological and physiological health. This research will substantiate the biological consequences of lived experiences, inform evolutionary hypotheses on the function of female social relationships, and yield data that can be used in an applied context to improve workplace climate for scientists as well as potentially improve health and well-being for marginalized groups.