Disparities in whites' versus blacks' self-rated health: Social status, health-care services, and health behaviors

Celia C. Lo, Rebecca J. Howell, Tyrone Cheng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)727-733
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Community Health
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2013



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

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