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J Health Soc Behav. 1991 Dec;32(4):342-56.

Racial differences in health and health care service utilization in later life: the effect of socioeconomic status.

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Department of Sociology, State University of New York, Buffalo 14260.


In this paper we examine the hypothesis that health differences between Blacks and Whites in later life are related to socioeconomic status. Using the 1984 panel of the Survey of Income and Program Participation, we construct four measures of health and two measures of health care service utilization. Multivariate analyses show that the racial differences are eliminated in some measures of health and health care service utilization after holding constant individual-level socioeconomic characteristics and resources. However, even after accounting for differences in socioeconomic status, Black self-rated health is poorer than that of Whites. Further, Blacks report more visits to medical personnel but do not report higher rates of hospitalization when levels of health and economic resources are controlled. Additional analyses suggest that the impact of socioeconomic status on health is different for Blacks than for Whites.

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