Living Reference Work Entry

Encyclopedia of Behavioral Medicine

pp 1-2

Date: Latest Version

Discrimination and Health

  • Yori GidronAffiliated withFaculty of Medicine and Pharmacy, Free University of Brussels (VUB) Email author 


Racism and health


This term refers to deliberate inequalities in access to and in care for health conditions or to the unequal exposure to health risks as a function of people’s ethnic or demographic background (age, gender, beliefs, skin color, etc.). This problem exists in both developed and developing countries and has social, psychological, economic, political, and health elements. Furthermore, discrimination and health can even be seen on a more global level – the inequality in health care between rich and poor countries and the consequent disease burden carried by poor countries, where global economic and political forces sustain this. Numerous studies show differences between low and high socioeconomic status (SES) groups in health conditions, and there is accumulating evidence linking actual and perceived discrimination with poor health conditions (Ahmed et al. 2007; Williams and Mohammed 2009). Importantly, physicians may even provide less medical advice to pe ...

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