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Ethnic density effects on health and experienced racism among Caribbean people in the US and England: A cross-national comparison

Archived Abstract of Former PSC Researcher

Becares, L., J. Nazroo, James S. Jackson, and H. Heuvelman. 2012. "Ethnic density effects on health and experienced racism among Caribbean people in the US and England: A cross-national comparison." Social Science and Medicine, 75(12): 2107-2115.

Studies indicate an ethnic density effect, whereby an increase in the proportion of racial/ethnic minority people in an area is associated with reduced morbidity among its residents, though evidence is varied. Discrepancies may arise due to differences in the reasons for and periods of migration, and socioeconomic profiles of the racial/ethnic groups and the places where they live. It is important to increase our understanding of how these factors might promote or mitigate ethnic density effects. Cross-national comparative analyses might help in this respect, as they provide greater heterogeneity in historical and contemporary characteristics in the populations of interest, and it is when we consider this heterogeneity in the contexts of peoples' lives that we can more fully understand how social conditions and neighbourhood environments influence the health of migrant and racial/ethnic minority populations. This study analysed two cross-sectional nationally representative surveys, in the US and in England, to explore and contrast the association between two ethnic density measures (black and Caribbean ethnic density) and health and experienced racism among Caribbean people. Results of multilevel logistic regressions show that nominally similar measures of ethnic density perform differently across health outcomes and measures of experienced racism in the two countries. In the US, increased Caribbean ethnic density was associated with improved health and decreased experienced racism, but the opposite was observed in England. On the other hand, increased black ethnic density was associated with improved health and decreased experienced racism of Caribbean English (results not statistically significant), but not of Caribbean Americans. By comparing mutually adjusted Caribbean and black ethnic density effects in the US and England, this study examined the social construction of race and ethnicity as it depends on the racialised and stigmatised meaning attributed to it, and the association that these different racialised identities have on health. (C) 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

DOI:10.1016/j.socscimed.2012.03.046 (Full Text)

Country of focus: United Kingdom.

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