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Socially Assigned Race and Diabetes: Findings from the Arizona Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, 2013–2014

  • Jourdyn A. Lawrence
  • Kellee WhiteEmail author
  • Jason L. Cummings
  • James W. Hardin
  • Myriam E. Torres
Article

Abstract

Socially assigned race, the racial/ethnic categorization of individuals by others, may serve as the basis for differential or unfair treatment. Latinxs are commonly socially assigned to a race/ethnicity with which they do not self-identify. However, it is unclear the degree to which self-identified Latinxs who are socially assigned as white or Latinx may differentially predict health outcomes beyond general health status and healthcare utilization. We examine the association between socially assigned race and type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). Data from the Arizona’s Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (2013, 2014) was used in a cross-sectional analysis (restricted to Latinxs and non-Hispanic whites; N = 8370) to examine the association between self-identified (SI) and socially assigned (SA) race/ethnicity agreement and T2DM. Latinxs were categorized according to SI-SA race/ethnicity agreement: discordant (SI-SA, different) and concordant (SI-SA, same). T2DM was based on self-reported physician diagnosis. Data were analyzed using Poisson regression models to estimate prevalence ratios (PR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI). Latinxs comprised 28.5% of our sample, of which, 18.5% was discordant and 81.5% was concordant. In fully adjusted models, concordant Latinxs were more likely to have T2DM than whites (aPR 2.01, 95% CI 1.44, 2.82). There were no significant differences in T2DM between discordant Latinxs and whites. Our results suggest that socially assigned race is an understudied determinant of health and may further understanding of the impact of racial stratification on Latinx health inequities. Additional research examining socially assigned race and other health outcomes are warranted to gain further insight of the biological impact of racialized lived experiences.

Keywords

Socially assigned race Latinos Diabetes Discrimination Health disparities 

Notes

Funding Information

This study was funded by the University of South Carolina Social Science Provost Grant (USC:11520).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Ethical Standards

Each author declares that he or she has no conflict of interest. This article does not contain any studies with human participants performed by any of the authors. The original data collection was reviewed and approved by the CDC Institutional Review Board. The University of South Carolina Institutional Review Board approved this research as exempt (Pro00058016). Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

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Copyright information

© W. Montague Cobb-NMA Health Institute 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Social and Behavioral SciencesHarvard T.H Chan School of Public HealthBostonUSA
  2. 2.Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Arnold School of Public HealthUniversity of South CarolinaColumbiaUSA
  3. 3.Department of Health Services AdministrationUniversity of Maryland College Park School of Public HealthCollege ParkUSA
  4. 4.Department of Sociology and African American StudiesUniversity of South CarolinaColumbiaUSA

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