Inequality in Process: Education, Health and Income's Participation as a Mechanism among Blacks and Whites
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Prior work has provided substantial evidence to suggest that Blacks and Whites differ in how much their general health improves from educational attainment, yet empirical attempts that explain how these populations arrive at disparate educational effects are sparse. In this study, to flesh out our understanding of how educational gradients manifest among racial subpopulations in the U.S., I examine how a key mediator of the education-health relationship---i.e., income---differs, among Blacks and Whites, in how it participates as a mechanism of a college degree's effect on general health status. I use data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health (n = 8,823) and sequential g-estimation in this investigation. I find that income varies markedly across groups in how it participates as a mechanism of a college degree's health status effect and that this differential behavior helps clarify Black-White disparities in educational gradients.
Inequality in Context: Neighborhood Environments and the Association Among Education and Health
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The association among a college degree and health is know to vary, in strength, across subsections of the United States population. Recent literature suggests that educational gradients in health are particularly dependent on contextual environments; higher-level social features, such as state of residence, have indeed been shown to modify how advanced educational credentials matters to well-being. To add resolution to this emerging insight, this study examines how neighborhood environments, an especially salient level of geographic organization, impact educational gradients in the US. Using data from the Chicago Community Adult Health Study (n = 3,105) and Bayesian multilevel regression models, I examine how educational disparities in self-rated health and depression, between college and non-college degree holders, grow/shrink in response to a neighborhood-provided resource and with exposure to a neighborhood-level health challenge. Findings suggest that how tightly coupled a college degree is with well-being is strongly contingent upon one's immediate external risks, but less so on one's access to neighborhood social resources.
Estimating the risk of police-involved death by race and place
check out our findings on NPR:
or The Conversation:
Violent interactions with the police are, especially for people of color, a persistent feature of American social life. In this paper, we add to the collective project of explicating racial-disparities in police-involved mortality (i.e., deaths, of civilians, resulting from interactions with law-enforcement) by examining how place factors into this social phenomenon. To provide estimates of how geography and race interact to produce variable risks of police-involved deaths, we utilize non-traditional, crowd-sourced data (i.e., Fatal Encounters)--which explicitly address several shortcomings of federal efforts to document deaths involving police—as well as a methodological approach that allows for predictive precision on relatively sparse events (i.e., Bayesian, multilevel models, with weakly informative priors). Our results suggest that race and place may interact in important ways to generate risks of mortality due to police-involved deaths.
Beholding Inequality: Race, Gender, Physical Attractiveness, and Socioeconomic Status in the United States
Bringing theoretical insights from intersectionality and social cognition to bear on how the body relates to social inequality, this study uses nationally-representative data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health to examine how race, gender, and physical attractiveness intersect to affect earnings in the US. We build upon existing research on "beauty" premia by (instead of solely using race/ethnicity and gender as "controls") directly examining whether “beauty” is more or less consequential for earnings among certain race/gender group combinations. In so doing, the present study is situated to make compelling contributions to ethnoracial, gender, bodily inequalities, while providing needed empirical bases for ongoing theoretical elaborations of theories of intersectionality. Preliminary results suggest that the association among physical attractiveness and income does indeed vary by race/ethnicity and gender, with African-American women experiencing the strongest earning penalties for not being assessed as attractive.
Interpersonal discrimination has been studied widely in relation to health as it is hypothesized to be an important mechanism by which racial inequities in health are maintained. However, the exact role of interpersonal discrimination here is not clear: differences in levels of reports of discrimination vary by dataset and are often not different between Whites and persons of color, and the relation between discrimination and health is often shown to consistent across racial groups. It is likely that this lack of clarity in the role of interpersonal discrimination in racial health inequities, including that racial variation exists in what latent construct(s) manifest discrimination maps onto. To establish a comprehensive foundation for the study of discrimination and health (both going forward and for the interpretation of previous studies), we examine who tends to report different types of discrimination and how the items in the discrimination measures hang with items of other major and potentially related psychosocial factors.
Can Neighborhood and Local Environments Modify Cognitive Decline? Findings from the REGARDS Study
with: Phillipa Clarke; Margaret Hicken; Carina Gronlund; Jessica Finlay; Ketlyne Sol; Joy Bohyun Jang; Iris Gomez-Lopez; Robert Melendez; Anam Khan; Megan Mullins; Min Hee Kim; and Dominique Sylvers
Environmental factors may significantly increase the risk of, or buffer against, age-related cognitive decline, yet policies and practices to improve cognitive health outcomes to date largely overlook the role of neighborhoods and socio-physical environmental contexts. Residence in socioeconomically advantaged neighborhoods may promote cognitive function through greater density of physical and social resources (e.g., libraries, parks, coffee shops, air conditioning, community centers) that promote physical activity, facilitate mental stimulation, and encourage social engagement. Through a series of papers, our group will identify natural, built, and social environmental factors linked to changes in cognitive function over time (assessed by animal naming and world list learning tests) based on secondary data analyses of a national, racially diverse (42% Black), population-based sample of over 30,000 Americans aged 45+ in the Reasons for Geographic and Racial Differences in Stroke (REGARDS) study followed annually since 2003.
In the United States, race is a consistent predictor of health status. However, race as a concept has no meaningful biological validity. Instead, race is a sociopolitical construct used to classify human variation and justify the exploitation of groups defined as inferior based on external appraisals of arbitrary physical characteristics. At the macro-level, the results of these external racial appraisals expose individuals to various risk factors that affect health outcomes. While racial self-identification is commonly used in social surveys and analyses, recent scholarship has called for more attention to external appraisals of race in health research. Focusing on various health outcomes, our analysis introduces the concept of "interviewer-recorded" race to detemine if external evaluations of race matter above and beyond self-identified racial classifications. We find support for the use of this construct in health research, showing that external appraisals of race produce differing health profiles within self-identified racial groups.