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Socially-assigned race, healthcare discrimination and preventive healthcare services

Socially-assigned race, healthcare discrimination and preventive healthcare services

Plos one 8(5): E64522

Race and ethnicity, typically defined as how individuals self-identify, are complex social constructs. Self-identified racial/ethnic minorities are less likely to receive preventive care and more likely to report healthcare discrimination than self-identified non-Hispanic whites. However, beyond self-identification, these outcomes may vary depending on whether racial/ethnic minorities are perceived by others as being minority or white; this perception is referred to as socially-assigned race. To examine the associations between socially-assigned race and healthcare discrimination and receipt of selected preventive services. Cross-sectional analysis of the 2004 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System "Reactions to Race" module. Respondents from seven states and the District of Columbia were categorized into 3 groups, defined by a composite of self-identified race/socially-assigned race: Minority/Minority (M/M, n = 6,837), Minority/White (M/W, n = 929), and White/White (W/W, n = 25,913). Respondents were 18 years or older, with 61.7% under age 60; 51.8% of respondents were female. Measures included reported healthcare discrimination and receipt of vaccinations and cancer screenings. Racial/ethnic minorities who reported being socially-assigned as minority (M/M) were more likely to report healthcare discrimination compared with those who reported being socially-assigned as white (M/W) (8.9% vs. 5.0%, p = 0.002). Those reporting being socially-assigned as white (M/W and W/W) had similar rates for past-year influenza (73.1% vs. 74.3%) and pneumococcal (69.3% vs. 58.6%) vaccinations; however, rates were significantly lower among M/M respondents (56.2% and 47.6%, respectively, p-values<0.05). There were no significant differences between the M/M and M/W groups in the receipt of cancer screenings. Racial/ethnic minorities who reported being socially-assigned as white are more likely to receive preventive vaccinations and less likely to report healthcare discrimination compared with those who are socially-assigned as minority. Socially-assigned race/ethnicity is emerging as an important area for further research in understanding how race/ethnicity influences health outcomes.

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Accession: 055830527

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PMID: 23704992

DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0064522

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