Encyclopedia of Behavioral Medicine

Living Edition
| Editors: Marc Gellman

Discrimination and Health

  • Yori GidronEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-6439-6_1383-2



This term refers to deliberate inequalities in access to and in care for health conditions or to the unequal exposure to health risks as a function of people’s ethnic or demographic background (age, gender, beliefs, skin color, etc.). This problem exists in both developed and developing countries and has social, psychological, economic, political, and health elements. Furthermore, discrimination and health can even be seen on a more global level – the inequality in health care between rich and poor countries and the consequent disease burden carried by poor countries, where global economic and political forces sustain this. Numerous studies show differences between low and high socioeconomic status (SES) groups in health conditions, and there is accumulating evidence linking actual and perceived discrimination with poor health conditions (Ahmed et al. 2007; Williams and Mohammed 2009). Importantly, physicians may even provide less medical advice...


Heavy Alcohol Consumption Poor Environment Severe Health Problem Institutional Discrimination Social Violence 
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References and Further Readings

  1. Ahmed, A. T., Mohammed, S. A., & Williams, D. R. (2007). Racial discrimination & health: Pathways & evidence. Indian Journal of Medical Research, 126, 318–327.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Argaman, M., Gidron, Y., & Ariad, S. (2005). Interleukin-1 may link helplessness-hopelessness with cancer progression: A proposed model. International Journal of Behavior Medicine, 12, 161–170.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Gidron, Y., Russ, K., Tissarchondou, H., & Warner, J. (2006). The relation between psychological factors and DNA-damage: A critical review. Biological Psychology, 72, 291–304.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Maes, M., Song, C., Lin, A., De Jongh, R., Van Gastel, A., Kenis, G., et al. (1998). The effects of psychological stress on humans: Increased production of pro-inflammatory cytokines and a Th1-like response in stress-induced anxiety. Cytokine, 10, 313–318.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. Tschann, J. M., Adamson, T. E., Coates, T. J., & Gullion, D. S. (1988). Behaviors of treated hypertensive patients and patient demographic characteristics. Journal of Community Health, 13, 19–32.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. Williams, D. R., & Mohammed, S. A. (2009). Discrimination and racial disparities in health: Evidence and needed research. Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 32, 20–47.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. Williams, D., Yu, Y., Jackson, J. S., & Anderson, N. B. (1997). Racial differences in physical and mental health: Socioeconomic status, stress and discrimination. Journal of Health Psychology, 2, 335–351.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Medicine and PharmacyFree University of Brussels (VUB)JetteBelgium