Sunday, February 23, 2014

First Response Week 6: Race and Health

I found the Dressler et al. article to be extremely interesting. I have heard about the disparities between races in health, specifically African Americans and white Americans, but have never given much thought as to why there would be such a large difference. When looking at the different hypotheses there were several that I thought would work and was surprised that for some ideas the evidence was not strong enough to support that hypothesis. For example I thought that the health-behavior model, in which a person’s individual choices would affect their health, would have been a good factor for why there was a large disparity. The authors noted that once the individual choices were accounted for, there was still a large gap between the health of African Americans and whites. I found this very surprising. My next thought would be that one’s economic status would have an effect on health, especially when we learned about how rank in society can affect how much people stress which influences their health. Instead it was found that this also was not enough to explain the disparity. The one idea that I did think would have an influence and did seem to have evidence that it played a part, was the psychosocial stress model, which looked at how racism and perceived racism affected people. I can understand why that would have an effect as people have to deal with that extra stress in their lives. What I did not get from this article was that these could possibly be combined and several of these hypotheses could be the cause for the health gap between races. It seems that they were looking for one hypothesis that would explain everything. I think that is too simple, since as humans we are very complicated and to me it seems like there are always multiple reasons why something happens or why society is structured in a certain way. I think these hypotheses could be combined, once there is more research, to help complete the big picture

The other article was also interesting although I would have liked if it went into more detail of how being a minority affected health (was it because of racism in health practices or was it just stress that took its toll on people) and not just that it seems to have an effect. 

1 comment:

  1. I agree with Kristen that there must be more than one factor pushing and pulling the results in the social disparities health care dilemma. However, that opinion is why I appreciated the Dressler article, because Dressler (while hinting to the fact that he does have a preferred method) mentioned many different models for health disparities that have at least some evidence behind them. Until we can prove one specific model, all models should be taken into consideration as they act with and against each other. I appreciated the psychosocial stress model, but believe that economics can influence a significant amount of that stress as well, as can having children, being in school, or making life effecting decisions.

    I also wish I could have heard more about how the interviews answered health related questions (from the Viruell-Fuentes article). It took me a long time before I began to recognize signs that health was a consequence of the experiences described in the study. Although stress caused by racism may have been proven in another study, was it in this one? Regardless of the answer to that question, the Viruell-Fuentes article was an interesting piece on perceived racism form a generational standpoint which, I predict, was contrary to what many readers anticipated prior to reading the article. All in all, I am excited to discuss the articles in class.