Sierra Carter

Sierra Carter is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology at Georgia State University and works very closely with the Grady Trauma Project.  Her interest in psychology first developed at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology and minor in Social and Economic Justice. She graduated with a PhD in Clinical Psychology from the University of Georgia in 2016.

Her primary area of research focuses on racial health disparities and investigating how psychosocial and contextual stressors can affect both mental and physical health outcomes for underrepresented populations, with an emphasis on African American populations. She has a long-standing interest in the ways that health disparities in African American populations arise and are maintained by psychological, physiological, and contextual/social processes. A common theme throughout much of my work has been examining how racial discrimination, as an acute and chronic stressor, effects development and exacerbation of chronic illnesses and stress-related disorders across the life course. She integrates clinical, physiological, and biobehavioral measurement in my research to aid in improved identification of mechanisms that can be targeted in prevention and treatment efforts to reduce racial health disparities.

Her research program also examines how racial and cultural characteristics (e.g., racial identity, Africentric worldview, racial composition of communities, and place-based factors) influences health. This work utilizes a risk and resilience framework to further illuminate what may buffer the psychological and physical health impacts of racial discrimination. Her research in the area of risk and resilience aims to enhance our ability to tackle troubling health disparities in underserved and underrepresented communities.

Lastly, her current work seeks to advance our knowledge of race-related stress and its influence on trauma symptomatology. Her recent work in this area has examined the influence of trauma exposure alongside psychosocial stressors on mental and physical health outcomes. Her future research in this area aims to further elucidate the ways in which multiple and interwoven chronic stressors, such as racism and trauma experiences, could influence health.

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