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Book cover: Research in the Sociology of Health Care

Research in the Sociology of Health Care

ISSN: 0275-4959
Series editor(s): Professor Jennie Jacobs Kronenfeld

Subject Area: Health Care Management/Healthcare

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Different measures, different mechanisms: A new perspective on racial disparities in health care


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Title:Different measures, different mechanisms: A new perspective on racial disparities in health care
Author(s):Aliya Saperstein
Volume:27 Editor(s): Jennie Jacobsk Ronenfeld ISBN: 978-1-84855-834-2 eISBN: 978-1-84855-835-9
Citation:Aliya Saperstein (2009), Different measures, different mechanisms: A new perspective on racial disparities in health care, in Jennie Jacobsk Ronenfeld (ed.) Social Sources of Disparities in Health and Health Care and Linkages to Policy, Population Concerns and Providers of Care (Research in the Sociology of Health Care, Volume 27), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, pp.21-45
DOI:10.1108/S0275-4959(2009)0000027004 (Permanent URL)
Publisher:Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Article type:Chapter Item
Abstract:For nearly two decades, researchers across the disciplines of social science and medicine have grappled with how to conceptualize and measure race to better explain racial inequality. Improvements have been made, but most scholars continue to assume that a “correct” measure of race exists or that different estimates between measures are essentially quantitative errors. However, obtaining different estimates from different measures of race might instead suggest that there are substantively different explanations for the disparities. I explore this possibility by revisiting conventional findings about racial differences in reported health screenings using data from the 1988 National Survey of Family Growth, which includes both the respondent's self-identification and how she was classified by the survey interviewer. Regression results indicate that differences in interviewer-classified race are more closely related to disparities in health screenings than self-identification; these findings complement recent research on the role of racial discrimination and implicit prejudice in clinical encounters and highlight the importance of using multiple measures of race in health care research.

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