Dr Hope Landrine, 1954-2019
Hope Landrine’s Life and Work
Dr. Hope Landrine was born in Yonkers, NY, USA on July 4, 1954, to John Albert Landrine and Sarah Alice Palmer. Sadly, after a brief illness, Hope Landrine died in Greenville, NC, USA on Sept 3, 2019.
Hope Landrine was the first director of the East Carolina University Center for Health Disparities Research, and professor of psychology and professor of public health in the Brody School of Medicine. Her bachelor’s degree in psychology was from Westminster College, her masters was from the City University of New York, and her doctorate in clinical psychology from the University of Rhode Island. Landrine was a prolific scientist with more than 125 articles and books dedicated to the health, and socio-political conditions of African-Americans, other ethnic minority populations, women, and those suffering substance use and addictions. Landrine earned ‘fellow status’ in the American Psychological Association Divisions 9, 45, 38, 35, and 50 for her outstanding contributions to research on social issues, racial-ethnic minorities, health, and women and she was also awarded ‘fellow status’ in the Society of Behavioral Medicine. In 2012, she was honored with the APA Div. 45 Lifetime Achievement Award for Distinguished Lifetime Contributions to research on racial-ethnic minorities. In 2019, she received the James M. Jones Lifetime Achievement Award for her exceptional contributions to the understanding of racial and ethnic psychology.
Landrine’s work in public health was eclectic. Aware of the key role of culture, Landrine believed that plays, videos and songs, could capture people’s attention — and stay lodged in their memories — far longer than statistics in a pamphlet. “[The arts] are probably our best hope for changing hearts and minds and behaviors and attitudes,” she said. “People are more likely to listen to a song about health than take a class on health, let alone read a book on health. But if there’s a song on health and the song is clever enough that people hum it to themselves and learn the lyrics, then I think we can do something.” (Landrine, 2011).Landrine’s outstanding career focussed on racial and ethnic disparities in health and health behaviors, women’s health, discrimination and poverty continues as a beacon of inspiration. Landrine was raised in the inner city where poverty and gross inequities are a perpetual part of everyday existence. Landrine became a member of the ‘Young Socialist Alliance’ and the president of the Black Student Union before going home to read feminists books (Granek, 2007).
In developing her feminist identity, one summer in the early 1970s Landrine saw Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique at her local public library . At the end of that summer, Landrine said she “went back to college as somebody else” (Granek, 2007). Landrine attributed a change the course of her activism to a classic text on women’s health, Our Bodies Ourselves. When she graduated with a psychology degree, Landrine worked for the Cambridge Women’s Center until enrolling for a master’s at the City University of New York, where she was one the last students to be supervised by Stanley Milgram.
Landrine recalled “not really being interested in psychology as an undergraduate” and she “went there by default, not desire. And even as an undergraduate, I had concerns about it … I thought it was conservative. I perceived it … as a field that seemed to have the potential to defend the status quo – not challenge it – by locating problems within people instead of outside of them…I saw it as conservative and sexist on top of everything else! So, I graduated with no plan for graduate school; no desire to actually pursue psychology at all!” (Granek, 2007). So true then, as to this very day.
Landrine’s interest in psychology was rekindled by her masters research that was concerned with the feminism and self-esteem. Later, her doctoral study in the University of Rhode Island clinical psychology program Landrine viewed psychiatric disorders as a product of inequality without any necessary involvement of psychological or intra-psychic processes. Her thesis “The Politics of Madness” was even in those days a radical, political approach to psychopathology. The president of Division 35 of the American Psychological Association, Bernice Lott appointed Landrine to the task force on cultural diversity and, from 1990, Landrine became part of the editorial board of the Division’s journal, Psychology of Women Quarterly and served as the associate editor for several years. Landrine was invited to write a book review for the first issue of the Journal of Health Psychology and she later contributed multiple articles and served as Associate Editor for two decades.
Hope Landrine’s contribution to health psychology and public health has been enormous and pathfinding. Landrine’s focus on ethnic minorities, specifically those living in segregated and poor neighbourhoods, has planted seeds, grown trees and has created a forest of ideas and concepts for future workers to explore.
On culture and diversity
From Reviews : Culture and the Lathe of Failure by Hope Landrine, Journal of Health Psychology 1996 1:1, 143-144
“while waving the flag of cultural sensitivity, European– American health promotion programs continue nonetheless to define positive outcomes as the assimilation of European–American health beliefs and health behaviours by native Others. Likewise, while praising the importance of respect for cultural practices such as the oral tradition, European–American disease prevention programs continue nonetheless to rely on posters, flyers, videos and other visual and written media. ‘Sensitivity to diversity’ means that these visual and written materials have been translated into the language of the native Other, and has yet to mean that the Other’s oral tradition (the practice of learning through storytelling, utilizing the culturally significant relationship between story-teller and audience) is the medium for altering health behavior. The tendency to ignore rather than incorporate a cultural community’s indigenous healers, indigenous disease taxonomies, and techniques of traditional medicine are but a few, additional examples of the Western inclination to marginalize and dismiss the very cultural context to which interventions purport to be sensitive.”
“the new, unprecedented focus on cultural diversity is always a focus on an Otherness that is not White—it is Black or Brown or Yellow or Red but never White—such that culture is rendered a mere fetish relevant to minorities and ‘exotic’ peoples alone. Doing so not only derides and dismisses culture while touting it, but also focuses attention on discovering cultural ‘differences’ that reinforce and perpetuate the cultural stereotypes and ethnic stratification purportedly challenged by the focus on diversity.”
From Reviews : Clovis E. Semmes, Racism, Health and Post-Industrialism : A Theory of African-American Health Westport, CT: Praeger, 1996, by Hope Landrine, Journal of Health Psychology 1997 2:3, 428-430
“in the zeitgeist of political correctness and sensitivity to cultural diversity, few in health psychology and related disciplines would dare say what they really think, namely, that while culture plays a role in the health of Hispanics, Asians and a variety of indigenous peoples, it does not play a role in the health of American Blacks because (unfortunately) American Blacks don’t have a culture. Most of the culture they had was lost at sea during the Middle Passage some 400 years ago, and the remainder was beaten out of them, leaving only the scars of the slave masters’ whips behind; those scars, sadly, are their sole cultural legacy. Although never stated explicitly, such beliefs are implicit throughout health psychology. For example, numerous publications on cultural diversity and health describe the health beliefs and practices of a variety of cultural groups in detail—until the authors come to the chapter on Blacks. At that point, the discussion changes to focus on social rather than on cultural variables, i.e. on lack of access to medical care, poverty and low levels of education. These social factors are obviously important insofar as they figure prominently in excess morbidity and mortality among Black Americans—but such social variables play an equally important role in the health of other cultural groups as well, including destitute Mexican-American immigrants, impoverished American Indians, and countless indigenous peoples of Africa, Asia and South and Central America. Specifically, cultural variables nonetheless are viewed as also playing a role in the health of the latter groups, and indeed in the health of every cultural group except African Americans; only for Blacks do discussions of ostensibly cultural factors in health focus on social variables alone.”
by Hope Landrine and Elizabeth A. Klonoff, Journal of Health Psychology 2000 5:2, 211-219
“THE UNITED STATES continues to be a racially segregated nation and was more segregated in the 1990s than it was in 1860, 1910, and 1940 (Massey & Denton, 1993). This ‘American Apartheid’ (Massey & Denton, 1993, p. 1) is neither the unfortunate remnant of a racist past nor the result of a black preference to live in black neighborhoods; rather, it is the outcome of ongoing racial discrimination in housing and in home loans (Massey & Denton, 1993). High levels of residential segregation characterize the lives of US blacks alone; other US minority groups are not subjected to similar levels of segregation (Massey & Denton, 1993).”
“In summary, this study was an exploratory one designed: (1) to examine for (the first time) the possibility that segregation can be measured at the individual level; and (2) to test (for the first time) the possibility that segregation may be an important social variable to include in research in health psychology. It seems clear that segregation can be measured at the individual level by using some or all of our items, or by developing other items that may be superior to ours. Likewise, these preliminary findings on segregation and smoking suggest that segregation indeed may be an important social variable to include in smoking research and so perhaps in other research in health psychology as well. We encourage development of other measures of segregation for use with individuals, and encourage studies examining this variable. In so doing, it may be beneficial for health psychology to conceptualize segregation theoretically in the manner that public health researchers do, namely: racial segregation is a social-contextual (macro-level) variable that shapes individual exposure and vulnerability to the social and psychological (micro- or individual-level) risk factors that are studied by health psychology and behavioral medicine.”
Latrice C. Pichon, Irma Corral, Hope Landrine, Joni A. Mayer, and Denise Adams-Simms, Journal of Health Psychology 2010 15:8, 1181-1189
We examined perceived skin cancer risk and its relationship to sunscreen use among a large (N = 1932) random sample of African American adults for the first time. Skin cancer risk perceptions were low (Mean = 16.11 on a 1—100 scale). Sun-sensitive skin type and a prior cancer diagnosis were associated with higher perceived skin cancer risk, but demographic factors were not. Unlike findings for Whites, perceived skin cancer risk was not associated with sunscreen use among African Americans.
Residential segregation, health behavior and overweight/obesity among a national sample of African American adults
Irma Corral, Hope Landrine, Yongping Hao, Luhua Zhao, Jenelle L. Mellerson, and Dexter L. Cooper, Journal of Health Psychology 2011 17:3, 371-378
We examined the role of residential segregation in 5+ daily fruit/vegetable consumption, exercise, and overweight/obesity among African Americans by linking data on the 11,142 African American adults in the 2000 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System to 2000 census data on the segregation of metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs). Multi-level modeling revealed that after controlling for individual-level variables, MSA Segregation and Poverty contributed to fruit/vegetable consumption, MSA Poverty alone contributed to exercise, and MSA Segregation alone contributed to overweight/obesity. These findings highlight the need for research on the built-environments of the segregated neighborhoods in which most African Americans reside, and suggest that neighborhood disparities may contribute to health disparities.
Irma Corral and Hope Landrine, Journal of Health Psychology 2012 17:8, 1176-1182
Studies have found relationships between racial discrimination and increased health-damaging behaviors among African-Americans, but have not examined possible concomitant decreased health-promoting behaviors. We explored the role of discrimination in two health-promoting behaviors, consuming ≥ 5 fruits/ vegetables daily (FVC) and physical activity (PA), for the first time, and likewise examined discrimination’s contribution to cigarette smoking, among a sample of N = 2118 African-American adults. Results revealed that discrimination contributed positively to smoking and to PA but was unrelated to FVC. These findings suggest that both adaptive and maladaptive health behaviors might be used to cope with the stress of discrimination.
by Irma Corral, Hope Landrine, and Luhua Zhao, Journal of Health Psychology 2013 19:4, 503-508
We explored the role of residential segregation in obesity among a national sample of Hispanics for the first time. Data on the 8785 Hispanic adults in the 2000 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System were linked to 2000 census data on the segregation of 290 metropolitan statistical areas. Multilevel modeling revealed that after controlling for individual-level variables, the odds of being obese for Hispanics residing in high-segregated metropolitan statistical areas were 26.4 percent higher than for those residing in low-segregated metropolitan statistical areas. This segregation effect might be mediated by the obesogenic features (e.g. paucity of recreational facilities and abundance of fast-food outlets) of segregated Hispanic neighborhoods.
Self-rated health, objective health, and racial discrimination among African-Americans: Explaining inconsistent findings and testing health pessimism
Hope Landrine, Irma Corral, Marla B Hall, Jukelia J Bess, and Jimmy Efird, Journal of Health Psychology 2015 21:11, 2514-2524
African-Americans sometimes rate their health as Poor/Fair in the absence of chronic diseases. Theoretically, this lack of correspondence between self-rated health and objective health is due to racial discrimination that results in rating one’s health negatively and in terms of social rather than health variables. We tested this Health Pessimism model with 2118 African-Americans. Results revealed that Poor/Fair self-rated health was predicted mostly by objective health for the Low Discrimination group but mostly by demographic variables for the High Discrimination group, in a manner consistent with Health Pessimism. Inconsistencies among prior studies might reflect differences in the prevalence of high discrimination among their samples.
Fabrega, H. (1974). Disease and social behavior: An interdisciplinary perspective. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Granek, L. (2007). Interview with Hope Landrine: Health Psychology, August 18, 2007, San Francisco, CA, U.S.A.
Landrine, H. (2011). Erasing inequities. Hope Landrine strives to make health disparities a thing of the past. https://news.ecu.edu/2011/12/01/erasing-inequities/