CitationPerreira, Krista M.; Wassink, Joshua; & Harris, Kathleen Mullan (2018). Beyond race/ethnicity: Skin color, gender, and the health of young adults in the United States. Population Research and Policy Review. vol. 38 (2) pp. 271-299
AbstractResearchers typically identify health disparities using self-reported race/ethnicity, a measure identifying individuals’ social and cultural affiliations. In this study, we use data from Waves 1, 3, and 4 of Add Health to examine health disparities by interviewer-ascribed skin color, a measure capturing the perceptions of race/ethnicity ascribed to individuals by others. Individuals with darker-skin tones may face greater exposure to serious stressors such as perceived discrimination, poverty, and economic hardship which can accumulate over the lifecourse and increase the likelihood of poor health. We found significant gradients in Body Mass Index (BMI), obesity, self-reported health, and depressive symptoms by interviewer-ascribed skin color but results differed by gender. Associations of BMI, obesity, and fair/poor health among women were only partially mediated by discrimination, self-reported stress, or low socioeconomic status and persisted after controlling for race/ethnicity. Among men, initial associations between skin color and both fair/poor health and depressive symptoms did not persist after controlling for race/ethnicity. This study demonstrates the value of considering stratification by skin color and gender in conjunction with race/ethnicity.
Reference TypeJournal Article
Journal TitlePopulation Research and Policy Review
Author(s)Perreira, Krista M.
Harris, Kathleen Mullan