Journal of Community Health

, Volume 38, Issue 4, pp 727–733

Disparities in Whites’ Versus Blacks’ Self-Rated Health: Social Status, Health-Care Services, and Health Behaviors

  • Celia C. Lo
  • Rebecca J. Howell
  • Tyrone C. Cheng
Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s10900-013-9671-3

Cite this article as:
Lo, C.C., Howell, R.J. & Cheng, T.C. J Community Health (2013) 38: 727. doi:10.1007/s10900-013-9671-3


Using 2009 National Health Interview Survey data, we examined how social-status factors, variables describing health services, and health-related behaviors explained self-rated health among Black adults and among White adults. We wanted to evaluate whether self-rated health’s relationships with these three sets of variables were conditional on race. Our results overall indicated that social-status, health-care-services, and health-behaviors variables are important to the explanation of both groups’ self-rated health. But in this study, when all social-status, health-care-services, and health-behaviors variables were controlled, Black respondents’ self-reported health did not differ, on average, from White respondents’. Such a finding firmly suggests that the three sets of variables partially explain disparities in the groups’ self-reported health. In the end, our results showed racial health disparities to be partially explained by racial differences in distribution of health resources and health behaviors.


Social status Health-care services Health behaviors Race Self-rated health 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Celia C. Lo
    • 1
  • Rebecca J. Howell
    • 2
  • Tyrone C. Cheng
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Social WorkUniversity of AlabamaTuscaloosaUSA
  2. 2.Department of Criminal JusticeCharleston Southern UniversityCharlestonUSA

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