Health in the African American Community: Accounting for Health Inequalities
Dressler, William W.
Dressler, William W. (1993) Health in the African American Community: Accounting for Health Inequalities. Medical Anthropology Quarterly, 7 (4). pp. 325-345.
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African Americans are at a higher risk of having a variety of health problems and have less access to health care than white Americans. This article explores these health inequalities and their explanations. Three conventional models of health inequalities—a racial-genetic model, a health behavior or lifestyle model, and a socioeconomic status model—are examined and found to be insufficient to account for observed disparities. A fourth alternative, termed a “social structural model,” is proposed. In this model, it is argued that the primary index of ethnic status, namely skin color, serves as a criterion of social class in color-conscious societies such as that of the United States. This alters social mobility processes and creates health inequalities for African Americans.
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