Project

Minorities' Diminished Returns (MDRs)

Goal: As shown in more than 200 papers, marginalized people gain less health from the very same socioeconomic resources than mainstream populations. In the US, Blacks, Hispanics, Native Americans, Asian Americans, and LGBTs are at a relative disadvantage compared to mainstream populations regarding the protective effects of education, income, employment, and marital status on a wide range of health outcomes. This phenomenon also holds for marginalized Whites who live in poor conditions. So it is not the behaviors of a particular group that result in disparities. It is social marginalization, broadly defined.

Here is a summary:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I0TQ-FXmADI&t=1723s

Methods: Quantitative Research Methods, Longitudinal Data Analysis

Date: 27 December 2014

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Shervin Assari
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While studies have indicated an association between socioeconomic status (SES) and neuroimaging measures, weaker SES effects are shown for Blacks than Whites. This is, in part, due to processes such as stratification, racism, minoritization, and othering of Black people in the United States. However, less is known about Latino youth. This study had two aims: First, to test the association between parental education and the right and left nucleus accumbens (NAcc) resting-state functional connectivity with the frontoparietal network (FPN) in children; and second, to investigate ethnic heterogeneity in this association. This cross-sectional study used data from the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) study. We analyzed the resting-state functional connectivity data (rsFC) of 10,840 US preadoles-cents who were between 9 and 10 years old. The main outcomes were the NAcc resting-state functional connectivity with FPN separately calculated for right and left hemispheres. Parental education was our independent variable. Family structure , sex, and age were covariates. Furthermore, ethnicity (Latino vs. non-Latino) was regarded as the moderator. We used mixed-effects regression for data analysis with and without interaction terms between parental education and ethnicity. Most participants (n = 8690; 80.2%) were non-Latino and 2150 (19.8%) were Latino. Parental education was associated with higher right and left NAcc resting-state functional connectivity with FPN. Ethnicity showed statistically significant interactions with parental education, suggesting that the positive associations between parental education and right and left NAcc resting-state functional connectivity with FPN were different in non-Latino and Latino children. For right hemisphere, we found significantly stronger and for left hemisphere, we found significantly weaker association for Latino compared with non-Latino preadolescents. Preado-lescents' NAcc resting-state functional connectivity with FPN depends on the intersections of ethnicity, parental education, and laterality.
Shervin Assari
added 6 research items
Introduction: Research shows that race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status (SES) have multiplicative rather than additive effects on the risk of cigarette smoking. In a national sample of American adult smokers, this study tested (1) the effects of race, ethnicity, educational attainment, and poverty status on first cigarette flavor in a national sample of American adult smokers, and (2) racial and ethnic differences in the effects of educational attainment and poverty status on first cigarette flavor. Methods: This cross-sectional study entered 22,144 ever-smoker adults who had participated in the Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health (PATH; 2013), a nationally representative study in the US. Independent variables were race, ethnicity, educational attainment, and poverty status. There were three dependent variables: initiating smoking using any, menthol/mint, and candy/fruit-flavored cigarettes. Age, sex, and region were the covariates. Results: Black individuals had higher odds of initiating smoking using menthol/mint-flavored cigarettes (OR=3.86, 95% CI=3.55-4.20), and Hispanics had higher odds of initiating smoking using candy/fruit-flavored cigarettes (OR=1.79, 95% CI=1.44-2.21). Overall, individuals with higher education had lower odds of initiating smoking using menthol/mint-flavored cigarettes (OR=0.94, 95% CI=0.92- 0.96), but higher odds of candy/fruit-flavored cigarettes (OR=1.35, 95% CI=1.26-1.45). Living out of poverty was not associated with initiating smoking using flavored cigarettes. Conclusion: In the US, race, ethnicity, and SES show multiplicative rather than additive effects on first cigarette flavor.
To the Editor In their article, Nagata and colleagues¹ used adolescent brain cognitive development (ABCD) data to show that high income, as a proxy of socioeconomic status (SES), was associated with higher rather than lower perceived racial discrimination (PRD) in Black children aged 10 to 11 years, a pattern that was absent for other racial and ethnic groups. The weaker protective association between SES and exposure to adversity and poor health outcomes for Black families compared with White families is a well-described phenomenon sometimes referred to as marginalization-related diminished returns (MDRs). To date, there have been about 40 peer-reviewed articles published by us and colleagues² showing that income, parental education, and living in married households do not remove the disparities between Black and White children in childhood asthma, obesity, impulsivity, substance use, depression, and poor school function.² These diminished returns are robust and extend from childhood to adulthood.
Introduction: Although research has established a link between socioeconomic status (SES) and neuroimaging measures, weaker SES effects are shown for Blacks than Whites. This is, in part, due to processes such as stratification, racism, mineralization, and othering of Black people in the US. Purpose: This study had two aims: First to test the association between household income and the nucleus accumbens (NAcc) resting-state functional connectivity with the Default Mode Network (DMN) in children, and second, to investigate racial heterogeneity in this association. Methods: This cross-sectional study used data from the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) study. We analyzed the resting-state functional connectivity data using Magnetic Resonance Imaging (rsfMRI) of 7903 US pre-adolescents who were between ages 9 and 10 years old. The main outcome was the NAcc resting-state functional connectivity with DMN. The independent variable was household income. Age, sex, and family structure were the study covariates. Race was the moderator. Mixed-effects regression models were used for data analysis with and without interaction terms between household income and race. Results: Higher household income was associated with higher NAcc resting-state functional connectivity with DMN. Race showed a statistically significant interaction with household income suggesting that the NAcc resting-state functional connectivity with DMN was significantly weaker for Black compared to White pre-adolescents. Conclusions: In line with Minorities’ Diminished Returns (MDRs), the association between household income and pre-adolescents NAcc resting-state functional connectivity with DMN is weaker in Black than in White children. This result is of interest because DMN’s functional connectivity with NAcc may have a role in cognitive flexibility and reward processing. The weaker links between SES indicators and neuroimaging findings for Blacks than for Whites may reflect the racialization of Black people in the US. Social stratification, racism, and discrimination may minimize the returns of SES for Black families, who have been oppressed for centuries.
Shervin Assari
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Shervin Assari
added 4 research items
Background: Due to a pattern known as Marginalization-related Diminished Returns (MDRs), historically oppressed non-Hispanic Black Americans show weaker effects of economic status on health and development, when compared to socially privileged non-Hispanic White Americans. Such MDRs are also documented for the effects of economic status on the school performance of non-Hispanic Black children. However, the existing knowledge is minimal on similar diminished returns on children's intelligence. Aim: To compare racial and ethnic groups for the effect of subjective economic status on children's cognitive performance, we compared non-Hispanic White and non-Hispanic Black children for the effects of subjective economic status on children's matrix reasoning. Methods: This cross-sectional study included 7898 children from the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) study. The predictor variable was subjective economic status, which was treated as a continuous measure. The primary outcome was children's matrix reasoning, a domain of cognitive performance, measured by the Wechsler Intelligence Scales for Children-IV (WISC-V) matrix reasoning total score. Results: Overall, high subjective economic status was associated with higher matrix reasoning score. Race showed a statistically significant interaction with subjective economic status on children's matrix reasoning score. This interaction suggested that high subjective economic status has a smaller boosting effect on increasing matrix reasoning score for non-Hispanic Black children relative to non-Hispanic White children. Conclusion: The degree by which subjective economic status correlates with matrix reasoning score, an important domain of cognitive performance, depends on race and racialization. Non-Hispanic Black children may show weaker gains in matrix reasoning from their subjective economic status than their non-Hispanic White counterparts. To minimize the racial gap in cognitive performance, we need to address diminished returns that occur as a result of the racialization of racial and ethnic minority children. Not only should we equalize economic status, but also increase the marginal returns of economic status for racial minorities, particularly non-Hispanic Black families. Such efforts require public policies that go beyond access and also consider how we can empower non-Hispanic Black communities and families so they can more effectively leverage and utilize their economic resources to secure measurable and tangible outcomes. Structural and societal barriers such as residential and school segregation may hinder non-Hispanic Black children from receiving the full effects of their family-level economic status on a variety of outcomes, including their cognitive performance.
Introduction: The thalamus is the hub of the brain and has a significant role in various brain activities. Purpose: This study explored racial differences in the association between parental education and thalamus volume among American children. Methods: Using data from the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD), we analyzed the structural Magnetic Resonance Imaging (sMRI) data of 11141 9-10 years old children. The main outcome was the left thalamus volume. The independent variable was parental education. Age, sex, ethnicity, family marital status, and intracranial volume were the covariates. Race was the moderator. To analyze the data, we used mixed-effects regression models. Results: In race-stratified models, high parental education was associated with smaller thalamus volume in White but not Black children. In the pooled sample, significant interactions were found between race and parental education suggesting that the effect of parental education on left thalamus volume is significantly smaller for Blacks and mixed/other race children than White children. We did not find similar findings for the right thalamus volume. Conclusions: The effect of parental education on children's left thalamus volume seems to be weaker for Black and other/mixed-race children than their White counterparts. This finding is in support of Minorites' Diminished Returns (MDRs) that suggest due to social stratification and racism, economic resources have weaker-than-expected effects for minority than majority populations.
Introduction: While the amygdala has a core role in behaviors, less is known about racial variation in the association between amygdala volume and teachers’ behavioral rating of children. According to the Minorities’ Diminished Returns (MDRs) phenomenon, the effects of individual-level risk and protective factors tend to be weaker for Black than White children due to structural factors such as social stratification and racism. Purpose: Built on the MDRs framework and conceptualizing race as a social rather than a biological factor, this study explored racial variation in the magnitude of the effects of amygdala volume on teachers’ behavioral ratings of children. Methods: For this cross-sectional study, we used baseline socioeconomic data and structural magnetic resonance imaging (sMRI) data of 4305 American children ages 9-10 who had participated in the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) study. The primary outcome was the teachers’ behavioral rating of the child. The independent variable was amygdala volume. Age, sex, parental education, parental marital status, and ethnicity were the covariates. Race was the moderator. We used mixed-effect models for data analysis to adjust for the participants’ nested nature within families and study sites. Results: Teachers rated children with larger amygdala volumes as having lower behavioral problems. The concordance between size of amygdala volume and teachers’ behavioral rating of the child was modified by race. For while children, teachers reported the children to have lower behavioral problems when they had a large amygdala. For Black children, teachers reported high behavioral problems across all amygdala sizes. Conclusions: The results can be explained in two ways. The first explanation is minorities’ diminished returns hypothesis (MDRs). In line with MDRs, due to structural inequalities and school segregation, a large amygdala would result in a more favorable behavioral rating of the White children than Black children, as we expect an unequal effect of equal resources across racial groups in the presence of racism. The second explanation is systemic bias of teachers against Black children: meaning that due to their anti-Black bias, teachers report high behavioral problems in Black children, across all amygdala sizes (behavioral profiles). That means, race may trigger some cues and biases in the teachers, so they do not pay attention to the details of the behavioral profile of the Black child. For White children, however, in the absence of such racial bias, teachers behavioral rating of a child reflects the child’s amygdala size.
Shervin Assari
added 8 research items
Background and aims: This study aimed to compare non-Hispanic Black (NHB) and non-Hispanic White (NHW) American adults for the associations of educational attainment and household income with perceived racial discrimination. Methods: The 2010 National Alcohol Survey (NAS N12), a nationally representative study, included 2635 adults who were either NHB (n = 273) or NHW (n = 2362). We compared NHBs and NHWs for the associations between education, income, and perceived racial discrimination. We used linear regression for data analysis. Outcome was perceived racial discrimination; the predictors were educational attainment and household income; covariates were age and gender; and moderator was race. Results: In the total sample, high income was associated with lower levels of perceived racial discrimination, while educational attainment was not significantly associated with perceived racial discrimination. There was also an interaction between race and education but not household income, suggesting a difference in the association between educational attainment and perceived racial discrimination between NHB and NHW individuals. For NHW individuals, household income was inversely associated with perceived racial discrimination. For NHB individuals, however, household income was not related to perceived racial discrimination. For NHB but not NHW individuals, educational attainment was correlated with more not less perceived racial discrimination. Conclusion: High income protects NHW but not NHB individuals against perceived racial discrimination, and NHB individuals with high education levels report more not less perceived racial discrimination.
Background and aims: Although actual and perceived obesity are associated, some research has shown that this association may differ across racial and ethnic groups. Accordingly, this cross-sectional study tested racial differences regarding the association between actual and perceived obesity among American adults. Methods: The Health Information National Trends Survey (HINTS 5- Cycle 3) is a representative survey of American adults conducted in 2019. A total number of 3731 adults entered our analysis, including 3054 (81.9%) non-Hispanic Whites and 677 (18.1%) African Americans (AAs). The independent variable was actual obesity, which was defined as a body mass index of 30 or greater. The outcome was perceived as obesity. In addition, age, gender, marital status, education, and income were considered as control variables (confounders), and the race was the focal effect modifier. Finally, logistic regressions without and with interaction terms were utilized to analyze the data. Results: Overall, actual and perceived obesity were associated, with obese individuals having higher odds of seeing themselves as obese (odds ratio [OR]=25.82, 95% CI=18.58-35.89, P< 0.001), indicating a weaker link between the two for AAs compared to non-Hispanic Whites. Race-stratified models also confirmed the same pattern with the actual and perceived obesity, showing a weaker association for AAs (OR=15.61, 95% CI=9.53-25.59, P<0.001 in comparison with non-Hispanic Whites (OR=46.23, 95% CI=27.01-709.14, P P<0.001). Conclusion: AAs compared to non-Hispanic Whites differed in the effect of their actual obesity on their perceived obesity. This may explain the looser association of obesity and depression in AAs as compared to Whites.
Background: Racial and economic disparities in low birth weight (LBW) deliveries is among the most well-established differences between Blacks and Whites. As LBW is an established risk factor for chronic diseases such as asthma and diabetes, it is particularly important to understand drivers of racial and economic disparities in LBW deliveries in urban areas. Aims: Built on the Minorities' Diminished Returns framework, which argues that educational attainment generates fewer positive health outcomes for Black than White Americans, we conducted this study with three aims: 1) to test the association between mothers' educational attainment and LBW of babies born in urban areas, 2) to compare Blacks and Whites for the effect of mothers' educational attainment on LBW, and 3) to test whether LBW is predictive of future chronic diseases 15 years later. Methods: Data came from the Fragile Families and Child Well-being / included a random sample of births in cities larger than 200,000 population. For the aims 1 and 2, we analyzed data of 2,922 births to Black (n = 2,146) or White (n = 776) mothers. For aim 3, we analyzed data of a subsample of 1,604 Black or White newborns who were followed to age 15. The presence or absence of chronic diseases was determined at age 15. Logistic regression was used for data analysis. Results: Maternal educational attainment was inversely associated with LBW overall. We, however, found a significant interaction between maternal educational attainment and race, suggesting that the inverse association between maternal education and LBW is weaker for Black than White babies. At the same time, LBW increased the odds of chronic disease 15 years later. Conclusions: Diminished returns of maternal educational attainment contribute to racial disparities in LBW, which in turn contributes to future racial inequalities in chronic diseases in urban settings. That is, smaller protective effects of maternal education on reducing LBW for Black than White children contribute to the high prevalence of chronic diseases among adolescents in urban settings. Health disparities are not just due to racial differences in socioeconomic status but also diminishing returns of socioeconomic status indicators such as education for racial and ethnic minorities. Research should study contextual factors that reduce Blacks' ability to translate their human capital to health outcomes in urban settings.
Shervin Assari
added a research item
Background: Based on the Marginalization-related Diminished Returns (MDRs) framework, high socioeconomic status (SES) such as parental education shows weaker effects for Blacks than Whites. For example, high SES Black individuals report a high level of depression, anxiety, suicide, chronic disease, smoking, and mortality. Limited knowledge exists on MDRs of parental education on dietary behavior. Aims: Built on the MDRs framework, we tested the hypothesis of whether the effect of parental education on eating breakfast differs for Black compared to White families. We hypothesized that there is an association between mothers' educational attainment and eating breakfast and compared Blacks and Whites for the effect of mothers' educational attainment on the frequency of eating breakfast. Methods: The Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study is a 15-year follow up study of a random sample of births in cities larger than 200,000 population. The predictor was parental education at birth. The outcome was the frequency of eating breakfast at age 15. Linear regression was used for data analysis. Results: Maternal educational attainment at birth was positively associated with youth frequency of eating breakfast among Whites, not Blacks. We also found a significant interaction between maternal educational attainment at birth and race, suggesting that the association between maternal education and youth frequency of eating breakfast at age 15 was weaker for Black than White families. Conclusions: Diminished returns of maternal educational attainment on healthy youth diet may contribute to the racial disparities in poor health of high SES Black families. That is, a smaller protective effect of maternal education on changing health behaviors for Black than White youth may be one of the mechanisms by which health is worse than expected in high SES Black families. The health disparities are not only due to racial differences in SES but also the diminishing returns of socioeconomic status indicators such as education for racial minorities. Research should study contextual and structural factors that reduce Black families' ability to mobilize their human capital and secure health outcomes in urban settings.
Shervin Assari
added 2 research items
Objective: To explore racial and ethnic variation in the effects of parental educational attainment on students’ grade point average (GPA) in the US. As suggested by the Minorities' Diminished Returns (MDR) theory, socioeconomic status (SES) systemically results in smaller outcomes for non-Whites compared to Whites. We still know very little about diminished trans-generational returns of SES resources such as parental educational attainment. For example, the differential impacts of parental educational attainment on school performance of youth from various racial and ethnic backgrounds are still unknown. Materials and methods: The Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health (PATH 2013 - 2014) is a nationally representative survey in the US. The total sample was 10,701 youth (12-17 years old) were enrolled. The independent variable was parental educational attainment. The main outcome was GPA measured using self-report. Age, gender, and parental marital status were the covariates. Race and ethnicity were the effect modifiers. Linear regression models were used to analyze the data. Results: Overall, higher parental educational attainment was associated with a higher GPA, independent of all possible confounders. Race and ethnicity, however, both showed significant interaction with parental educational attainment on students’ GPA, indicating smaller positive effects of parental educational attainment on students’ GPA for Hispanic and Black compared to non-Hispanic White youth. Conclusion: The boosting effect of parental educational attainment on GPA is smaller for Black and Hispanic compared to White youth. To minimize diminished returns of parental educational attainment for Black and Hispanic families, there is a need for innovative public and social policies and programs that are not limited to equalizing SES but also address the structural barriers that disproportionately limit upward social mobility of racial and ethnic minority students and their families. The US society should reduce extra costs of upward social mobility for racial and ethnic minority families. As the underlying mechanisms are multifaceted, multi-level approach is needed to undo minorities’ diminished returns, so every individual can gain the same tangible outcome from their SES resources.
Importance The concept of minorities’ diminished returns refers to the smaller protective effects of educational attainment for racial and ethnic minority groups compared with those for majority groups. Objective To explore racial and ethnic differences in the associations between parental educational attainment and youth outcomes among US adolescents. Design, Setting, and Participants A cross-sectional study was performed of 10 619 youth aged 12 to 17 years who were participants at wave 1 of the Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health (PATH) study, a nationally representative survey, in 2013. Data analysis was performed from August to October 2019. Main Outcomes and Measures The dependent variables were youth tobacco dependence, aggression, school performance, psychological distress, and chronic medical conditions. The independent variable was parental educational attainment. Age and sex of the adolescents and marital status of the parents were the covariates. Race and ethnicity were the moderating variables. Logistic regression was used for data analysis. Results Among the participants, 5412 (51.0%) were aged 12 to 15 years, and 5207 (49.0%) were aged 16 to 17 years; 5480 (51.7%) were male. For non-Hispanic white youth, as parental educational attainment increased, there were stepwise reductions in the prevalence of tobacco dependence (13.2% vs 6.9% vs 2.7%), aggression (37.9% vs 34.8% vs 26.1%), low grade point average (84.2% vs 75.6% vs 53.3%), and chronic medical conditions (51.7% vs 50.8% vs 43.9%), but there was not such a trend for psychological distress (43.7% vs 48.6% vs 41.0%). Interactions were significant between Hispanic ethnicity and parental education on tobacco dependence (OR, 3.37 [95% CI, 2.00-5.69] for high school graduation; OR, 5.40 [95% CI, 2.52-11.56] for college graduation; P < .001 for both), aggression (OR, 1.41 [95% CI, 1.09-1.81]; P = .008 for high school graduation; OR, 1.59 [95% CI, 1.14-2.21]; P = .006 for college graduation), and psychological distress (OR, 1.50 [95% CI, 1.05-2.13]; P = .03). Black race showed an interaction with college graduation on poor school performance (OR, 2.00 [95% CI, 1.26-3.17]; P = .003) and chronic medical conditions (OR, 1.56 [95% CI, 1.14-2.14]; P = .005). All these findings suggest that the protective associations between high parental educational attainment and youth development might be systemically smaller for Hispanic and black youth than for non-Hispanic youth. Conclusions and Relevance Although high parental educational attainment is associated with better outcomes for youth, this association is systemically less significant for Hispanic and black than non-Hispanic white youth. The result is an increased health risk in youth from middle class black and Hispanic families. Given the systemic pattern for outcomes across domains, the diminishing returns of parental educational attainment may be due to upstream social processes that hinder ethnic minority families from translating their capital and human resources into health outcomes.
Shervin Assari
added 3 research items
Background: While financial difficulties correlate with mental and physical health status, less is known about these associations among economically disadvantaged African-American (AA) older adults. Objective: This study explored mental and physical health correlates of financial difficulties among AA older adults in low-income areas of south Los Angeles. Methods: A cross-sectional study on 740 AA older adults (age ≥ 55 years) conducted in South Los Angeles between 2015 and 2018. Independent variable was financial difficulties. Outcomes were depressive symptoms, chronic pain, chronic medical conditions, self-reported health, and sick days. Age, gender, educational attainment, living alone, marital status, smoking, and drinking were also measured. Zero order (unadjusted) and partial (adjusted) correlates of financial difficulties were calculated for data analysis. Adjusted (partial) bivariate correlations controlled for age, gender, education, marital status, living alone, and health insurance. Results: In adjusted analyses, financial difficulties were positively associated with chronic pain, chronic medical conditions, self-rated health, sick days, and depressive symptoms. Conclusion: Financial difficulties seem to be linked to chronic pain, chronic medical conditions, self-rated health, sick days, and depressive symptoms. The results advocate for evaluation of social determinants of health in providing health care of AA older adults. Addressing financial difficulties may help with the health promotion of low-income AA older adults in urban areas.
Background: Hemodialysis (HD) patients have high unemployment rates associated with higher mortality and poor quality of life. Changes in employment status prior to dialysis initiation may predict subsequent patient outcomes. We sought to examine US national trends in employment status prior to and at HD initiation, risk factors for job loss and their association with transplantation and mortality. Methods: Employment was defined as working full-time or part-time for 496 989 patients initiating maintenance HD from 2006 to 2015. Associations between patient and dialysis facility characteristics and employment change were analyzed using multivariable logistic regression. Cox regression was used to assess job loss with mortality and transplantation. Results: About 26% (n = 129 622) of patients were employed 6 months prior compared with 15% (n = 75 719) at HD initiation. Employment rates 6 months prior to HD initiation decreased from 29% in 2006 to 23% in 2014. Employed patients who maintained employment increased from 57% in 2006 to 64% in 2015. Patients who were older, female, Hispanic, Black, with more comorbidities or living in low-income zip codes were less likely to maintain employment. Facility characteristics associated with employment maintenance included nonprofit status, more stations, dialysis availability after 5 p.m. and home dialysis training. Patients maintaining employment during the 6 months prior to HD had lower mortality and higher transplantation rates than patients who became unemployed. Conclusions: Employment rates among HD patients are low and employment changes common during the 6 months prior to HD. Maintaining employment status was associated with key patient and facility characteristics, kidney transplantation and survival.
Background: High parent education is protective against youth health risk behaviors such as tobacco use. According to the Minorities' Diminished Returns theory, however, higher parent education seems to exert less protection for the ethnic minority relative to the majority groups. Objectives: To explore ethnic differences in the effects of parent education on the transition to cigarette smoking in a national sample of American never-smoker adolescents. Methods: This longitudinal study used data of waves 1 and 4 of the Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health (PATH 2013–2018). This analysis included 5,021 American youth who were never smokers at baseline (2013) and were followed for 4 years. Transition to cigarette smoking was the dependent variable. Parent education was the independent variable. Youth age, youth gender, and family structure were the covariates. Ethnicity was the moderating variable. Results: From the 5,021 American youth who were never smokers at baseline (2013), 89.4% continued as never smokers, and 10.6% became ever-smokers. Overall, 4.0% were current smokers at wave 4. Overall, a higher parent education was associated with lower odds of transitioning to ever and current cigarette smoker at the end of the 4th year. Parent education, however, showed significant interaction with Latino ethnicity on both outcomes suggesting smaller protective effects of high parent education against transitioning to tobacco use for Latino than for non-Latino youth. Conclusions: In the U.S., ethnicity alters the magnitude of the protective effect of parent education against youth transition to tobacco use. While high parent education is protective against transitioning to become a cigarette smoking overall, non-Latinos (a socially privileged group) gain more and Latino youth (a socially marginalized group) gain least from such a resource. In addition to addressing the SES gap, policymakers should identify and address mechanisms by which ethnic minority youth remain at risk of tobacco use, even when they are from highly educated families.
Shervin Assari
added 21 research items
To investigate racial and ethnic differences in the protective effects of parental education and marital status against adolescents’ depressed mood and suicidal attempts in the U.S. As proposed by the Marginalization-related Diminished Returns (MDRs), parental education generates fewer tangible outcomes for non-White compared to White families. Our existing knowledge is very limited regarding diminished returns of parental education and marital status on adolescents’ depressed mood and suicidal attempts. To compare racial groups for the effects of parental education and marital status on adolescents’ depressed mood and suicidal attempt. This cross-sectional study included 7076 non-Hispanic White or African American 8-11 years old adolescents from the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) study. The independent variables were parental education and marital status. The main outcomes were depressed mood and suicidal attempts based on parents’ reports using the Kiddie Schedule for Affective Disorders and Schizophrenia (K-SADS). Age and gender were the covariates. Race was the moderator. Logistic regression was used to analyze the ABCD data. Overall, parental education was associated with lower odds of depressed mood (OR = 0.81; 95% CI = 0.67–0.99; p = 0.037) and having married parents was associated with lower odds of suicidal attempts (OR = 0.50; 95% CI = 0.28–0.91; p = 0.022). In the pooled sample, we found interaction terms between race with parental education and marital status on the outcomes, suggesting that the protective effect of having married parents against depressed mood (OR = 1.54; 95% CI = 1.00–2.37; p = 0.048) and the protective effect of having married parents against suicidal attempts (OR = 6.62; 95% CI = 2.21–19.86; p = 0.001) are weaker for African Americans when compared to Whites. The protective effects of parent education and marital status against depressed mood and suicidal attempts are diminished for African American adolescents compared to White adolescents. There is a need for programs and interventions that equalize not only socioeconomic status (SES) but also the marginal returns of SES for racial minority groups. Such efforts require addressing structural and societal barriers that hinder African American families from translating their SES resources and human capital into tangible outcomes. There is a need for studies that can minimize MDRs for African American families, so that every individual and every family can benefit from their resources regardless of their skin color. To achieve such a goal, we need to help middle-class African American families secure tangible outcomes in the presence of SES resources.
Background: Education, employment, and marital status are among the main socioeconomic status (SES) indicators that are associated with subjective health and happiness. The effects of these SES indicators may, however, be different for various demographic groups. Aims: To understand if SES indicators differently impact men and women, we tested gender differences in the effects of education, employment, and marital status on the subjective health and happiness of American adults. Methods: This cross-sectional study used data of the General Social Survey (GSS), a series of nationally representative surveys between 1972 and 2018 in the US. Our analytical sample included 65,814 adults. The main independent variables were education attainment, marital status, and employment. Outcomes were self-rated health (SRH) and happiness measured using single items. Age and year of the study were covariates. Gender was the moderator. Results: Overall, high education, being employed, and being married were associated with better SRH and happiness. We, however, found significant interactions between gender and educational attainment, marital status, and employment on the outcomes, which suggested that the effect of high education and marital status were stronger for women. In comparison, the effect of employment was stronger for men. Some inconsistencies in the results were observed for SRH compared to happiness. Conclusions: In the United States, while education, employment, and marital status are critical social determinants of subjective health and happiness, these effects vary between women and men. Men's outcomes seem to be more strongly shaped by employment, while women's outcomes are more strongly shaped by education and marital status.
Background: Based on the Minorities' Diminished Returns (MDRs) framework, high socioeconomic status (SES) indicators such as parental education shows weaker protective effects against adverse experiences for Blacks than Whites. For example, Black children with highly educated parents report high levels of depression, anxiety, suicide, smoking, obesity, and chronic disease. Limited knowledge exists on MDRs of parental education on the child's exposure to spanking by the mother. Aims: Built on the MDRs framework, we tested the hypothesis of whether the effect of parental education on the child's exposure to spanking by the mother differs in Black and White families. We hypothesized that: 1) there is an inverse association between mothers' educational attainment and child spanking, and 2) the effect of mothers' educational attainment on mothers' spanking of the child is weaker for Black than White families. Methods: We used data from the Fragile Families and Child Well-being Study (FFCWS), a 9-year follow up study of a random sample of births in cities larger than 200,000 population. In this analysis, 2722 Black or White families were followed. The main predictor was parental educational attainment at birth. The outcomes were exposure to spanking at ages 3, 5, and 9. Logistic regression was used for data analysis. Results: Higher parental educational attainment at birth was inversely associated with the child's exposure to spanking by the mother among Whites, not Blacks. We also found a significant interaction between parental educational attainment at birth and race, suggesting that the associations between parental education and child exposure to spanking by the mother at ages 3, 5, and 9 were weaker for Black than White families. Conclusions: Diminished returns of parental educational attainment in terms of reducing children's exposure to trauma and stress may be a mechanism that contributes to racial health disparities, particularly poor health of children in highly educated Black families. That is a smaller protective effect of parental education on reducing undesired exposures for Black than White children may be one of the mechanisms that may explain why children develop worse than expected physical, mental, and behavioral health in high SES Black families. Not all health disparities are due to racial differences in SES, but some of them are also secondary to the diminishing returns of socioeconomic status indicators such as parental education for racial minorities. Research should study contextual, structural, family, and behavioral factors that reduce Black families' ability to mobilize their human capital and secure health outcomes for themselves and their children.
Shervin Assari
added a research item
Aim: To compare racial groups for the effect of parental educational attainment on adolescents’ social, emotional, and behavioral problems. Methods: In this cross-sectional study, 10,762 youth from the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) study were included. The independent variable was parental educational attainment. The main outcomes were 1) anxious and depressed mood, 2) withdrawn and depressed affect, 3) somatic complaints, 4) social and interpersonal problems, 5) thought problems, 6) rule-breaking behaviors, 7) attention problems, and 8) violent and aggressive behaviors. These scores were generated based on parent-reported behavioral problems measured using the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL). Race and ethnicity were the moderators. Linear regression was used to analyze the ABCD data. Results: Overall, high parental educational attainment was associated with lower scores across all domains. Race and ethnicity showed statistically significant interactions with parental educational attainment on adolescents’ fewer social, emotional, and behavioral problems (all domains), net of all confounders, indicating smaller tangible gains from their parental educational attainment for Black and Hispanic compared to non-Hispanic White adolescents. Conclusion: The protective effects of parental education against social, emotional, and behavioral problems are systematically diminished for Hispanic and Black than non-Hispanic White adolescents.
Shervin Assari
added 5 research items
Background: The literature on Minorities' Diminished Returns (MDRs) have shown worse than expected health of the members of racial and ethnic minority groups particularly Blacks. Theoretically, this effect can be in part due to weaker effects of educational attainment on preventive care and disease management in highly educated racial and ethnic minorities. Objectives: The current study explored the racial and ethnic differences in the effect of baseline educational attainment on % adherance to the routine physician visits among middle-aged and older adults in the US. Methods: This is a prospective study with 24 years of follow up. The Health and Retirement Study (HRS: 1992-2016) included 10 880 middle-aged and older adults who were Hispanic, non-Hispanic, Black or White. The independent variable was educational attainment. The dependent variable was adherance to the routine physician visits (%). Age, gender, marital status, income, health behaviors (smoking and drinking) and health (depression, self-rated health, and chronic diseases) were the covariates. Race and ethnicity were the focal moderators. Linear regression was used for data analysis. Results: Overall, higher educational attainment was associated with higher % of adherance to the routine physician visits over the course of follow-up, net of all confounders. Race showed a significant statistical interaction with educational attainment suggesting of a smaller effect of high education attainment on % adherance to the routine physician visits for Black than White middle-aged and older adults. A similar interaction could not be found for the comparison of Hispanic and non-Hispanic middle-aged and older adults. Conclusion: Educational attainment is associated with a larger increase in preventive and disease management doctor visits for White than Black middle-aged and older adults. This is a missed opportunity to improve the health of highly educated middle-aged and older adults. It is not race/ethnicity or class that shapes health behaviors but race/ethnicity and class that shape people's pro-health behaviors. At least some of the racial health disparities is not due to low SES but diminished returns of SES.
Background Socioeconomic Status (SES) indicators, such as educational attainment, are social determinants of heart disease. Marginalization related Diminished Returns (MDRs) refer to smaller health benefits of high SES for racial and ethnic minorities compared to the majority group. It is still unknown, however, if MDRs also apply to the effects of education on heart disease. Purpose Using a nationally representative sample, we explored racial/ethnic variation in the link between educational attainment and heart disease among American adults. Methods We analyzed data (n=25,659) from a nationally representative survey of American adults in 2013. The first wave of the Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health - Adult (PATH-Adult) study was used. The independent variable was education (college graduate, high school graduate, less than a high school diploma). The dependent variable was any heart disease. Age and gender were the covariates. Race, as well as ethnicity, were the moderators. Logistic regressions were used to analyze the data. Results Individuals with higher educational attainment had lower odds of heart disease. Race and ethnicity showed statistically significant interactions with education, suggesting that the protective effect of higher education on reducing odds of heart disease was smaller for Hispanic and Black people than for non-Hispanic and White individuals. Conclusion Education reduces the risk of heart disease better among non-Hispanic Whites than for Hispanics and Blacks. Therefore, we may expect a disproportionately higher than expected risk of heart disease in Hispanics and Blacks with high educational attainment. Future research should test if the presence of high levels of environmental and behavioral risk factors contribute to the high risk of heart disease in highly educated Black and Hispanic Americans. Policymakers should not reduce health inequalities to just gaps in SES because disparities are present across SES levels, with high SES Blacks and Hispanics remaining at risk of health problems.
Background: Educational attainment and income are central to maintenance of body mass index (BMI), physical activity, and self-rated health (SRH). However, less is known about how social groups differ in the role of educational attainment and income on subsequent changes in these health outcomes. This study compared race/ethnicity by gender groups of older Americans for the effects of baseline educational attainment and income on subsequent changes in BMI, physical activity, and SRH. Methods: The Health and Retirement Study (HRS) followed 37,495 male and female White and African American people above age 50 for 6 years from 2004 to 2010. This number included 15,581 White women, 12,495 White men, 5,580 African American women, and 3,839 African American men. Physical activity, BMI, and SRH were measured every two years. Multi-group structural equation modeling (latent growth curve modeling) was used to compare race/ethnicity by gender groups for the protective effects of educational attainment and income in 2004 on a decline in physical activity, BMI, and SRH from 2004 to 2010. Results: Major race/ethnicity by gender differences were observed in the effects of baseline educational attainment and income on changes in BMI, physical activity, and SRH. Educational attainment and income showed more salient roles for White men and women than African American men and women. To give some examples, baseline education (years) was associated with changes in physical activity of White women and changes in BMI of White men, while baseline income was associated with changes in SRH of White Women. We did not find evidence suggesting that baseline income fully mediates the effect of baseline educational attainment on health outcomes, as in many instances, educational attainment but not income was associated with health changes over time. Conclusion: The intersection of race/ethnicity and gender alters how educational attainment and income protects against subsequent changes in physical activity, BMI, and SRH. Social groups may vary in operant mechanisms by which social determinants of health prevent health decline in the United States.
Shervin Assari
added 10 research items
Objectives: Research on Minorities' Diminished Returns (MDRs) has shown higher than expected substance use (tobacco and alcohol use) in middle-class Hispanic and Black youth and adults. In theory, some of this more than expected risk might be due to the high substance use problem of the social network. To better understand the role of social network as an explanatory mechanism behind higher than expected substance use of middle-class Hispanic and Black youth, this study tested MDRs of parental educational attainment on substance use involvement of biological relatives in Hispanic and Black middle-class youth, we compared ethnic groups for effects of parental educational attainment on the substance use involvement of biological relatives among American youth. Methods: Current longitudinal study used waves 1 and wave 4 data of the Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health- Adolescents (PATH; 2013-2018) study. The sample included 4264 nationally representative American youth who were followed for 4 years. The independent variable was parental educational attainment. The dependent variable was substance use involvement of biological relatives. Age, gender, and marital status of the family were the covariates. Ethnicity was the moderator. Linear regression was used to analyze the data. Results: Parental educational attainment was inversely associated with substance use involvement of biological relatives in the pooled sample (OR = 1.36, 95% CI = 1.13 -1.63 for high school graduation and OR = 0.65, 95% CI = 0.53- 0.80 for college graduation). Hispanic ethnicity showed statistically significant interactions with parental educational attainment (OR = 2.26, 95% CI = 1.49 -3.44 for high school graduation and OR = 2.98, 95% CI =1.80 - 4.93 for college graduation), suggesting that the protective effect of parental educational attainment against substance use involvement of biological relatives is smaller for Hispanic youth than for non-Hispanic youth. Conclusions: While high parental educational attainment reduces substance use involvement of biological relatives, this protective effect is weaker for Hispanic than non-Hispanic youth. That means, substance use involvement of biological relatives is still high in middle-class Hispanic youth, which increases their risk of substance use. Future research should explore societal and contextual factors that cayuse MDRs of parental educational attainment on substance use of middle-class Hispanic families.
Recent research has documented Minorities' Diminished Returns (MDRs), defined as weaker protective effects of parental educational attainment and other socioeconomic status (SES) indicators for racial and ethnic minority groups. To explore racial differences in the associations between parental educational attainment and youth educational outcomes among American high schoolers. This cross-sectional study used baseline data from the Education Longitudinal Study (ELS-2002), a nationally representative survey of 10th grade American youth. This study analyzed 10702 youth who were composed of 2020 (18.9%) non-Hispanic Black and 8682 (81.1%) non-Hispanic White youth. The dependent variables were youth math and reading grades. The independent variable was parental educational attainment. Gender, parental marital status, and school characteristics (% students receiving free lunch, academic risk factors, urban school, public school) were the covariates. Race was the moderating variable. Linear regression was used for data analysis. Overall, higher parental educational attainment was associated with higher math and reading test scores. We found a significant interaction between race (Non-Hispanic Black) and parental education attainment on math and reading test scores, suggesting that the boosting effects of high parental educational attainment on youth educational outcomes might be systemically smaller for Non-Hispanic Black than for Non-Hispanic White youth. While high parental educational attainment promotes educational outcomes for youth, this association is weaker for Non-Hispanic Black youth than non-Hispanic White youth. The diminished returns of parental education are beyond what can be explained by school characteristics that differ between Non-Hispanic Black and non-Hispanic White students. Diminishing returns of parental educational attainment (MDRs) may be an unrecognized source of racial youth disparities. Equalizing SES would not be enough for equalizing outcomes. There is a need for public and economic policies that reduce diminished returns of SES for Black families.
Background Although the protective effect of socioeconomic status (SES) against risk of overweight/obesity is well established, such effects may not be equal across diverse racial and ethnic groups, as suggested by the marginalization-related diminished returns (MDR) theory.AimsBuilt on the MDR theory, this study explored racial variation in the protective effect of income against overweight/obesity of Whites and Blacks with knee osteoarthritis (OA).Methods This cross-sectional study used baseline data of the OA Initiative, a national study of knee OA in the USA. This analysis included 4664 adults with knee OA, which was composed of 3790 White and 874 Black individuals. Annual income was the independent variable. Overweight/obesity status (body mass index more than 25 kg/m2) was the dependent variable. Race was the moderator. Logistic regressions were used for data analysis.ResultsOverall, higher income was associated with lower odds of being overweight/obese. Race and income showed a statistically significant interaction on overweight/obesity status, indicating smaller protective effect of income for Blacks compared with Whites with knee OA. Race-stratified regression models revealed an inverse association between income and overweight/obesity for White but not Black patients.Conclusions While higher income protects Whites with knee OA against overweight/obesity, this effect is absent for Blacks with knee OA. Clinicians should not assume that the needs of high-income Whites and Blacks with knee OA are similar, as high-income Blacks may have greater unmet needs than high-income Whites. Racially tailored programs may help reduce the health disparities between Whites and Blacks with knee OA. The results are important given that elimination of racial disparities in obesity is a step toward eliminating racial gap in the burden of knee OA. This is particularly important given that overweight/obesity is not only a prognostic factor for OA but also a risk factor for cardiometabolic diseases and premature mortality.
Shervin Assari
added 8 research items
Background: The Minorities' Diminished Returns (MDRs) theory suggests that the health effect of educational attainment is considerably smaller for members of racial and ethnic minority groups than for Whites. Objective: The current study explored the racial and ethnic differences in the association between educational attainment and breast physical exam (BPE) among women in the U.S. Methods: The National Health Interview Survey (NHIS 2015) included 12 510 women who were Hispanic or non-Hispanic Black or White people. The independent variable was the level of educational attainment. The dependent variable was lifetime BPE. Age, region, marital status, and employment were the covariates. Race and ethnicity were the focal moderators. Logistic regressions were used for data analysis. Results: Overall, higher educational attainment was associated with higher odds of BPE, net of all confounders (odds ratio [OR] = 1.11, 95% CI = 1.09-1.13). Ethnicity showed a significant statistical interaction with educational attainment on BPE (OR = 0.96, 95% CI = 0.93-1.00), which was suggestive of a smaller effect of high education attainment on BPE for Hispanic than non-Hispanic women. The same interaction could not be found for the comparison of White and Black women (OR = 0.98, 95% CI =0.94-1.02). Conclusion: In line with other domains, non-Hispanic White women show a larger amount of health gain from their educational attainment than Hispanic women. It is not ethnicity or class but ethnicity and class that shapes how people engage in pro-health behaviors. This result may help hospitals and healthcare systems to better reduce health disparities in their target populations.
Objective: The positive effect of high socioeconomic position (SEP) on health is well established. According Minorities’ Diminished Returns (MDRs) theory, however, the SEP-health link is smaller for Blacks compared to Whites. Using a 25-year follow up data of a national sample, this study tested racial differences in the effects of marital status on life expectancy among American adults. Materials and methods: The data of Americans’ Changing Lives (ACL, 1986 – 2011) were used. The ACL is a nationally representative longitudinal cohort study followed 3,361 White or Blacks adults from 1986 to 2011. The predictor of interest was marital status in 1986. Confounders included demographic factors (age and gender), SEP (education and employment), health behaviors (drinking, smoking, and physical activity), and health status (depressive symptoms, chronic disease, and self-rated health) all measured at baseline. Race was the moderator variable. All-cause mortality was the main dependent variable (outcome). Cox proportional hazard modeling was applied for data analysis. Results: In the overall sample, individuals who were married at baseline had a lower risk of mortality during the 25 years of follow up. Race altered the effect of marital status on life expectancy, indicating smaller protective effect for Blacks relative to Whites. Race –specific Cox regression models showed an association between marital status and life expectancy for White but not Black Americans. Conclusion: In line with the MDRs theory, the health gain that follows marital status is diminished for Black Americans compared to White Americans. Only equalizing SEP across racial groups may not be adequate for eliminating racial/ethnic health inequalities. Policies should go beyond SEP and reduce societal and structural barriers that disproportionately hinder Blacks from translating their SEP indicators to desirable health outcomes.
Background: Previous research has documented bidirectional associations between age at childbirth and socioeconomic status (SES) among mothers. Built on the Marginalization-related Diminished Returns (MDRs) theory, this study compares the association between maternal age at childbirth and income between non-Hispanic Blacks and non-Hispanic Whites. Methods: We used the data of the Fragile Families and Child Well-being Study (FFCWS), a longitudinal study from 1998 to 2016 in the United States (US). This study included 2922 women who were non-Hispanic White (n=776) or non-Hispanic Black (n=2146). Maternal age at childbirth was the independent variable, and income was the dependent variable. Educational attainment, marital status, delivery characteristics, car ownership, and welfare dependence were the covariates. For data analysis, linear regressions were applied. Results: Higher maternal age at childbirth was associated with higher income (adjusted b=0.30). We found a significant interaction between maternal age at childbirth and race on income, suggesting that the positive association between mothers' age at childbirth and income was weaker for non-Hispanic Blacks than non-Hispanic Whites (b=-1.14, 95% CI=-1.50,-0.77). Conclusion: Postponing childbirth may have a smaller economic return for non-Hispanic Black women, which is in line with Marginalization-related Diminished Returns theory. Diminished returns of postponing reproduction may be a result of social stratification and structural inequalities that separate the lived experience of Blacks and Whites in the United States.
Shervin Assari
added an update
Shervin Assari
added an update
Here is a link to 80+ of my papers published on Minorities' Diminished Returns:
 
Shervin Assari
added 27 research items
Background: As suggested by the Minorities' Diminished Returns (MDR) theory, socioeconomic status (SES) systemically results in smaller outcomes for non-Whites compared to Whites. We still know very little about diminished trans-generational returns of SES resources such as parental educational attainment (PEA). Purpose: This cross-sectional study explored racial variation in the effect of PEA on the college students' grade point average (GPA) in the US. Methods: The Healthy Mind Study (HMS, 2016-2017) is a national telephone of college students in the US. The total sample was 18,072 domestic undergraduate college students who were either non-Hispanic Whites (n = 16,718; %92.50) or non-Hispanic Blacks (n = 1,354; %7.50). The independent variable was PEA. The main outcome was GPA measured using self-reported data. Age, gender, sexual orientation, transgender status, and financial difficulty were covariates. Race/ethnicity was the effect modifier. Linear regression models were used to analyze the data. Results: Overall, higher PEA was associated with a higher GPA, independent of all possible confounders. Race/ethnicity, however, showed a significant interaction with PEA on students' GPA, indicating a smaller positive effect of PEA on non-Hispanic Blacks compared to non-Hispanic Whites college students' GPA. Race/ethnicity stratified models also showed a larger effect for White than Black students. Conclusions: The boosting effect of PEA in GPA is smaller for Black compared to White college students. US should systematically reduce extra costs of upward social mobility for racial and ethnic minority families.
Background: Minorities’ Diminished Return (MDR) can be defined as smaller health gains from socioeconomic status (SES) indicators, such as education attainment among ethnic minorities compared to the majority group. The current study tested whether income explains why Black and White adults differ in the association between education attainment and self-rated health (SRH). Methods: With a cross-sectional design, this study used data from Cycle 5 of the Health Information National Trends Survey (HINTS), 2017. With a nationally representative sample, the HINTS study generates results that are generalizable to US adults. This study included 2277 adults who were either non-Hispanic White (n = 1868; 82%) or non-Hispanic Black (n = 409; 18%). The independent variable was education attainment. The dependent variable was SRH, measured using a standard single item. Age, gender, and health insurance status were covariates. Ethnicity was the focal moderator. Income was the mediator. A structural equation model (SEM) was applied for data analysis. Results: Overall, higher education attainment was associated with better SRH, net of covariates. However, a significant interaction between ethnicity and education attainment suggested a smaller SRH gain from education for Blacks compared to Whites. This interaction could be explained by Black–White differences in income. Conclusion: Our study results suggests that labor market preferences may explain smaller effects of education attainment on SRH for Blacks relative to Whites. Given this finding and other studies documenting MDR, policies should reduce labor market discrimination, increasing job opportunities and reducing the racial pay gap for Blacks. Programs should help Blacks compete for prestigious and high-paying jobs.
Recent research has suggested that relative to Whites, African Americans (AAs) may be at a systemic disadvantage regarding the health effects of socioeconomic position (SEP) indicators as well as psychological assets (e.g., sense of mastery). However, less is known about how these diminished returns differ between AA men and women. This study tested whether AA men and women differ in the mental health effects of high sense of mastery. The National Survey of American Life (NSAL, 2003) recruited 3570 AA adults who were either female (n = 2299) or male (n = 1271). Dependent variable was psychological distress. Independent variable was sense of mastery. Gender was the focal moderator. Age and educational attainment were the covariates. Multiple linear regression model was applied for statistical analysis. Overall, high sense of mastery was associated with lower psychological distress. Significant interaction was found between gender and sense of mastery on psychological distress suggestive of a stronger association for AA women compared to men. A smaller mental health gain of high sense of mastery for AA men compared to AA women is indicative of within race heterogeneity regarding diminished returns. Racism and discrimination may be why high sense of mastery does not translate to mental health gain for AA men.
Shervin Assari
added an update
My most recent papers all shown MDRs.
 
Shervin Assari
added 9 research items
Background: Socioeconomic status (SES) resources protect children and adults against the risk of medical and psychiatric conditions. According to the Minorities’ Diminished Returns theory, however, such protective effects are systemically weaker for the members of racial and ethnic minority groups compared to Whites. Aims: Using a national data set with 15 years of follow up, we compared Black and White youth for the effects of family SES at birth on the risk of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) at age 15. Methods: The Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study (FFCWS, 1998–2016) is a longitudinal prospective study of urban youth from birth to age 15. This analysis included 2006 youth who were either White (n = 360) or Black (n = 1646). The independent variable was family income, the dependent variable was ADHD at age 15. Child gender, maternal age, and family type at birth were covariates, and race was the focal moderator. We ran logistic regressions in the overall sample and specific to race. Results: In the overall sample, high family income at birth was not associated with the risk of ADHD at age 15, independent of all covariates. Despite this relationship, we found a significant interaction between race and family income at birth on subsequent risk of ADHD, indicating a stronger effect for Whites compared to Blacks. In stratified models, we found a marginally significant protective effect of family SES against the risk of ADHD for White youths. For African American youth, on the other hand, family SES was shown to have a marginally significant risk for ADHD. Conclusions: The health gain that follows family income is smaller for Black than White families, which is in line with the Minorities’ Diminished Returns. The solution to health disparities is not simply policies that aim to reduce the racial gap in SES, because various racial health disparities in the United States are not due to differential access to resources but rather the impact of these resources on health outcomes. Public policies, therefore, should go beyond equalizing access to resources and also address the structural racism and discrimination that impact Blacks’ lives. Policies should fight racism and should help Black families to overcome barriers in their lives so they can gain health from their SES and social mobility. As racism is multi-level, multi-level interventions are needed to tackle diminished returns of SES.
Life course epidemiological studies have documented the effects of family socioeconomic position (SEP) at birth on youth developmental processes and outcomes decades later. According to the minorities’ diminished returns (MDR) theory, however, family SEP at birth generates smaller returns for Black compared to White families. Using 15 years of follow up data of a national sample of American families, this study investigated racial differences in the effect of family income at birth on subsequent school bonding of the adolescent at age 15. The fragile families and child well-being study (FFCWS) is a 15-year prospective longitudinal study of 495 White and 1436 Black families from the birth of their child. Family SEP (poverty status) at birth was the independent variable. Youth school bonding at age 15 was the main outcome. Linear regressions were applied for data analysis, with race as the focal moderator. In the pooled sample, in addition to each race, higher family SEP at birth was associated with higher school bonding of the youth at age 15. Race altered the effects of family SEP at birth on youth school bonding at age 15, indicating smaller protective effects for Black compared to White youth. Race stratified regressions also showed the effect of family SEP at birth on age 15 school bonding for White youth, but not Black youth. Tangible outcomes that follow economic resources at birth are disproportionately smaller for Black families compared to those for White families. Merely equalizing SEP is not enough for the elimination of racial inequalities in youth outcomes. Policies should reduce societal and structural barriers that commonly cause diminished returns of SEP for Black families. Policy evaluations should aim for most effective policies that have the potential to equalize Blacks’ and Whites’ chances for gaining tangible developmental and health outcomes from identical SEP resources.
Objective Minorities’ diminished returns theory suggests that socioeconomic status (SES) resources generate fewer health benefits for racial and ethnic minority groups, compared to the majority group. The current study aimed to compare Hispanic and non‐Hispanic white older adults for the association between educational attainment and poor physical self‐rated health (SRH). Methods The first wave of the University of Michigan National Poll on Healthy Aging (UM‐NPHA) included 1820 older adults who were 50‐80 years old and were either non‐Hispanic white (n = 1618) or Hispanic white (n = 202). The main independent variable of interest was educational attainment. The main dependent variable of interest was poor physical SRH. Gender, age, marital status, and employment status were covariates. Ethnicity was the focal effect modifier. Results Overall, higher level of educational attainment was associated with better physical SRH. A significant interaction was found between ethnicity and level of educational attainment, which was indicative of a smaller physical SRH gain due to high educational attainment for Hispanic white compared to non‐Hispanic white older adults. In ethnic‐specific models, we found evidence suggesting that high educational attainment reduced the odds of poor physical SRH for non‐Hispanic whites but not for Hispanic whites. Conclusion Compared to non‐Hispanic whites, Hispanic whites gain less physical SRH benefits from their educational attainment.
Shervin Assari
added a research item
Background: Although high educational attainment is linked to better health and lower health risk behaviors, this effect may be systemically smaller for racial and ethnic minority groups compared to Whites. However, it is still unknown whether these diminished returns also apply to marginalization based on sexual orientation. Aims: In a national sample of adults which was composed of people of color, we compared straight and homosexual people for the association between education attainment and obesity. Methods: The Social Justice Sexuality Project (SJS-2010) is a cross-sectional national survey of health and wellbeing of predominantly people of color who identify as homosexual. The current analysis included 2884 adults (age 24 or more) who were either heterosexual (n = 260) or homosexual (n = 2624). The predictor variable was education attainment, and the outcome variable was obesity status (body mass index larger than 30 kg/m2 [kilograms per meter squared]). Demographic factors (age and gender), household income, nativity (US born vs. immigrant), and health (self-rated health and current smoking) were the covariates. Sexual orientation was the moderator. Results: In the pooled sample, high education attainment was protective against obesity status. Sexual orientation interacted with education attainment on odds of obesity, which was suggestive of stronger protective effects of high education attainment against obesity for heterosexual than homosexual individuals. Conclusion: High education attainment better protects heterosexual than homosexual people against obesity, a pattern similar to what has been observed for comparison of Whites and non-Whites. Smaller protective effects of education attainment on health behaviors of marginalized people are possibly, due to prejudice and discrimination that they experience. Discrimination may minimize stigmatized individuals’ abilities to mobilize their economic and human resources and translate them to tangible outcomes. This finding extends the Minorities’ Diminished Returns theory, suggesting that it is not just race/ethnicity but possibly any marginalizing and stigmatizing social identity that results in diminished returns of socioeconomic status resources.
Shervin Assari
added an update
this paper summarizes some of the findings on this theory.
 
Shervin Assari
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All of the lines in this graph show effects that are significantly smaller for minority people than the majority group. That is, unequal gain of equal resources across social groups, and minority people being always in a systemic disadvantage.
 
Shervin Assari
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Recent research has documented poor mental health among high socioeconomic status (SES) Blacks, particularly African American males. The literature has also shown a positive link between SES and perceived discrimination, suggesting that perceived discrimination may explain why high SES Black males report poor mental health. To better understand the role of contextual factors in explaining this pattern, we aimed to test whether school racial composition explains why high income Black youth perceive more discrimination. We explored these associations by ethnicity and gender. Using data from the National Survey of American Life-Adolescent supplement (NSAL-A), the current study included 810 African American and 360 Caribbean Black youth, with a mean age of 15. Ethnicity, age, gender, income-to-needs ratio (SES), skin color, school racial composition, and perceived (daily) discrimination were measured. Using Stata 15.0 (Stata Corp., College Station, TX, USA), we fitted seven structural equation models (SEMs) for data analysis in the pooled sample based on the intersection of ethnicity and gender. Considerable gender by ethnicity variations were found in the associations between SES, school racial composition, and perceived discrimination. For African American males but not African American females or Caribbean Black males or females, school racial composition fully mediated the effect of SES on perceived discrimination. The role of inter-racial contact as a mechanism for high discrimination and poor mental health of Black American adolescents may depend on their intersection of ethnicity and gender. School racial composition may be a mechanism for increased perceived discrimination among high SES African American males.
Shervin Assari
added a research item
Background: The minorities’ diminished return theory suggests that socioeconomic position (SEP) generates smaller health gains for racial/ethnic minorities compared to Whites. The current study was a Black–White comparison of the association between household income and self-rated mental health (SRMH). Methods: This cross-sectional study used data from the 2017 State of the State Survey (SOSS). With representative sampling, the SOSS generates results that are generalizable to the state of Michigan. This study included 881 adults, (n = 92) Black and (n = 782) White. The independent variable was household income. The dependent variable was SRMH, measured using a single item. Age, gender, and participation in the labor force were covariates. Race/ethnicity was the focal moderator. Logistic regression models were used for data analysis. Results: Overall, higher household income was associated with better SRMH, net of covariates. An interaction was found between race/ethnicity and household income on SRMH, suggesting a smaller, or nonexistent, protective effect for Blacks compared to Whites. In race/ethnicity-stratified models, higher household income was associated with better SRMH for Whites but not Blacks. Conclusion: Supporting the minorities’ diminished return theory, our study documents differential effects for income on SRHM for Blacks and Whites, where Whites but not Blacks appear to benefit from their income. Given this, researchers and policy makers are cautioned against making assumptions that racial groups benefit equally from similar economic resources.
Shervin Assari
added a research item
Minorities’ Diminished Return theory suggests that health effects of socioeconomic status (SES) are systemically smaller for racial and ethnic minorities compared to Whites. To test the relevance of Minorities’ Diminished Return theory for youth impulsivity, we investigated Black–White differences in the effects of family SES at birth on subsequent youth impulsivity at age 15. Data came from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study (FFCWS), 1998–2016, a 15-year longitudinal study of urban families from the birth of their children to age 15. This analysis included 1931 families who were either White (n = 495) or Black (n = 1436). The independent variables of this study were family income, maternal education, and family structure at birth. Youth impulsivity at age 15 was the dependent variable. Gender was the covariate and race was the focal moderator. We ran linear regressions in the overall sample and specific to each race. In the overall sample, higher household income (b = −0.01, 95% CI = −0.01 to 0.00) and maternal education (b = −0.24, 95% CI = −0.44 to −0.04) at birth were associated with lower youth impulsivity at age 15, independent of race, gender, and family structure. A significant interaction was found between race and household income at birth (b = 0.01, 95% CI = 0.00 to 0.02) on subsequent youth impulsivity, which was indicative of a stronger protective effect for Whites compared to Blacks. Blacks’ diminished return exists for the long-term protective effects of family income at birth against subsequent youth impulsivity. The relative disadvantage of Blacks in comparison to Whites is in line with a growing literature showing that Black families gain less from high SES, which is possibly due to the existing structural racism in the US.
Shervin Assari
added 4 research items
Background: Socioeconomic status (SES) is essential for maintaining health, and self-rated health (SRH) is not an exception to this rule. This study explored racial differences in the protective effects of maternal educational attainment at birth against poor SRH of the youth 15 years later. Methods: Using data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study (FFCWS), this 15-year longitudinal study followed 1934 youths from birth to age 15. This sample was composed of White (n = 497, 25.7%), and Black (n = 1437, 74.3%) youths. The independent variable was maternal educational attainment at birth. SRH at age 15 was the dependent variable. Family structure was the covariate. Race was the focal moderator. We ran logistic regression models in the pooled sample, as well as stratified models based on race. Results: In the pooled sample, maternal educational attainment and family structure were not predictive of SRH for the youths at age 15. Race interacted with maternal educational attainment, indicating a stronger association between maternal educational attainment at birth on youth SRH for Whites compared to Blacks. In race stratified models, maternal educational attainment at birth was protective against poor SRH for White but not Black youths. Conclusion: White but not Black youths gain less SRH from their maternal educational attainment. Enhancing education attainment may not have identical effects across racial groups. The health status of Blacks may be less responsive to improvements in maternal educational attainment. Policies should go beyond investing in educational attainment by empowering Black families to better use the educational attainment that they gain. Policies and programs should reduce the costs of upward social mobility for minority families.
Background: According to the Minorities' Diminished Return theory, socioeconomic status (SES) systemically generates larger gains for Whites compared to Blacks. It is, however, unknown whether the effects of baseline SES on future family income also varies between Blacks and Whites. Aims: Using a national sample, this study investigated racial variation in the effects of family SES (i.e., family structure, maternal education, and income) at birth on subsequent household income at age 15. Methods: This 15-year longitudinal study used data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study (FFCWS), which followed 1471 non-Hispanic Black or White families from the time of birth of their child for 15 years. Two family SES indicators (maternal education and income) at birth were the independent variables. Family income 15 years later was the outcome. Maternal age, child gender, and family structure at baseline were covariates. Race was the focal moderator. Linear regression models were used for data analysis. Results: In the pooled sample, maternal education (b = 11.62, p < 0.001) and household income (b = 0.73, p < 0.001) at baseline were predictive of family income 15 years later. Race, however, interacted with maternal education (b = -12,073.89, p < 0.001) and household income (b = -312.47, p < 0.001) at birth on household income 15 years later, indicating smaller effects for Black compared to White families. These differential gains were independent of family structure, mother age, and child gender. Conclusions: The economic return of family SES is smaller for Black compared to White families, regardless of the SES indicator. Policies should specifically address structural barriers in the lives of racial and ethnic minorities to minimize the diminished return of SES resources across racial minority groups. Policies should also reduce extra costs of upward social mobility for racial minorities. As the likely causes are multi-level, solutions should also be also multi-level. Without such interventions, it may be very difficult if not impossible to eliminate the existing Black-White economic gap.
According to the Blacks’ Diminished Return theory, the health effects of high socioeconomic status (SES) are systemically smaller for Black compared to White families. One hypothesis is that due to the existing structural racism that encompasses residential segregation, low quality of education, low paying jobs, discrimination in the labor market, and extra costs of upward social mobility for minorities, Black families face more challenges for leveraging their education to escape poverty. Aims: Using a nationally representative sample of American families with children, this study investigated racial variation in the effects of highest education of parents on family’s ability to scale poverty, defined as the household’s income-to-needs ratio. Methods: This cross-sectional study used data from the National Survey of Children’s Health (NSCH) 2003–2004—a nationally representative telephone survey that included 86,537 parents of children 0–17 years old. The sample was composed of White (n = 76,403, 88.29%) and Black (n = 10,134, 11.71%) families. The independent variable was highest education of the parents. The dependent variable was household poverty status (income-to-needs ratio). Race was the focal moderator. Linear regression was used in the pooled sample, as well as by race. Results: In the pooled sample, higher education of parents in the household was associated with lower risk of poverty. Race, however, interacted with parental education attainment on household-income-to-needs ratio, indicating smaller effects for Black compared to White families. Lower number of parents and higher number of children in Black families did not explain such racial disparities. Conclusions: The economic gain of parental education on helping family escape poverty is smaller for Black than White families, and this is not as a result of a lower parent-to-child ratio in Black households. Policies should specifically address structural barriers in the lives of all minorities to minimize the diminished return of SES resources across racial minority groups. Policies should also enhance quality of education and reduce the extra cost of upward social mobility for racial minorities. As the likely causes are multilevel, the solutions should also be multilevel. Without such interventions, it may be very difficult if not impossible to eliminate the existing economic and health gap between racial groups.
Shervin Assari
added 2 research items
Background: This study aimed to investigate the interaction between gender and other socio-economic characteristics on sleep quality of the patients with Coronary Artery Disease (CAD). Methods: This cross sectional study was conducted on 717 patients with CAD. The socioeconomic status (education level, income, marital status, and place of residence) was considered as the independent variable. Besides, the study outcome was the quality of sleep which was measured using Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI). Gender was considered as a possible effect modifier. Two-way ANOVA was used to evaluate the interaction between gender and socio-economic factors on sleep quality. As defined by Baron and Kenny, moderator was defined as a variable that affected the direction or magnitude of the association of interest. Results: Female gender, low education level, and low income were predictive of poor sleep quality. Among female (10.0 ± 4.3 vs. 7.6 ± 5.0, P < 0.05), but not male patients (6.7 ± 4.2 vs. 7.0 ± 4.2, P > 0.05), low education was associated with poor sleep quality. Also, among female (10.0 ± 4.3 vs. 5.7 ± 2.5, P < 0.05), but not male patients (7.0 ± 4.2 vs. 6.0 ± 3.8, P > 0.05), low income was predictive of poor sleep quality. Gender did not modify the effect of other socio-economic factors on sleep quality. Conclusions: Among female but not male patients with CAD, low education and income were associated with poor sleep quality. This information helps us better understand the mechanisms behind the poor sleep quality of the female patients with CAD. This is important because poor sleep is a prognostic factor among the CAD patients.
This study aimed to test if ethnicity moderates the additive effects of lifetime psychiatric disorders on serious suicidal thoughts among a nationally representative sample of Black adults in the United States. For this study, we used data of 5,181 Black adults (3,570 African Americans and 1,621 Caribbean Blacks) who participated in the National Survey of American Life, 2001-2003. Five lifetime psychiatric disorders (i.e., major depressive disorder, general anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, alcohol abuse disorder, and drug abuse) were considered as the independent variables. Lifetime serious suicidal ideation was considered as the dependent variable. Logistic regressions were used to determine if ethnicity modifies the effects of each psychiatric disorder on serious suicide ideation. Ethnicity was conceptualized as the possible moderator and socio-demographics (i.e., age, gender, education level, employment, marital status and country region) were control variables. Among African Americans, major depressive disorder, general anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder and alcohol abuse disorder were associated with higher odds of suicidal thoughts. Among Caribbean Blacks, major depressive disorder and drug abuse disorder were associated with higher odds of suicidal thoughts. In the pooled sample, there was a significant interaction between ethnicity and anxiety disorder and a marginally significant interaction between ethnicity and drug abuse. Based on our study, suicidality due to psychiatric disorders among Black adults in the United States may depend on ethnicity. General anxiety disorder seems to be a more important risk factor for suicidal ideation among African Americans while drug abuse may contribute more to the risk of suicidal thoughts among Caribbean Blacks.
Shervin Assari
added 4 research items
The aim of this study is to explore ethnic variations in psychosocial and health correlates of eating disorders in the United States, Specifically, we compared associations between gender, socioeconomic status (SES), body mass index (BMI), physical and mental self-rated health (SRH), and major depressive disorder (MDD) with eating disorders (EDs) across 10 different ethnic groups in the United States. Data was obtained from the Collaborative Psychiatric Epidemiology Surveys (CPES), a national household probability sample collected in 2001–2003. Data for this study included a sample of 17,729 individuals with the following ethnic profile: 520 Vietnamese, 508 Filipino, 600 Chinese, 656 Other Asian, 577 Cuban, 495 Puerto Rican, 1442 Mexican, 1106 Other Hispanic, 4746 African American, and 7587 Non-Latino Whites. Gender, SES (education and income), BMI, SRH, MDD, and presence of EDs were measured across different ethnic groups. Logistic regression analysis was conducted for each ethnic group with lifetime EDs as the main outcome. Ethnic group varied in psychosocial and health correlates of EDs. In most ethnic groups, gender and SES were not associated with EDs. In almost all ethnic groups, EDs were associated with MDD and BMI. EDs were found to be associated with SRH in half of the ethnic groups studied. The associations between gender, SES, BMI, SRH, MDD, and EDs vary across different ethnic groups. These differences must be considered in further studies and in clinical practice in order to improve our approach towards diagnosis and treatment of EDs.
Background: The association between coronary angiographic findings and the level of anxiety symptoms among patients who undergo coronary angiography is not known. The aim of this study was to investigate the association between the extent of coronary stenosis and anxiety symptoms in patients who undergo coronary angiography. Methods: In a cross-sectional study, 106 patients who underwent coronary angiography and had varying degrees of coronary artery disease were enrolled. Demographic characteristics (i.e., age and gender), socioeconomic status (i.e., educational attainment, income, and marital status), and traditional risk factors (i.e., hypertension, diabetes mellitus, hyperlipidemia, and smoking) were measured. The independent variable was the extent of coronary stenosis shown by coronary angiography, coded as single-vessel disease (n = 19), 2-vessel disease (n = 28), or 3-vessel disease (n = 59). The main outcome was symptoms of anxiety measured using the Hospital Anxiety Depression Scale (HADS). The Kruskal–Wallis test was used for bivariate analysis, and linear regression was applied for multivariable analysis. Results: Participants were mostly men (n = 78, 73%), at a mean age of 50.14 ± 10.60 years. We found an inverse association between the extent of coronary stenosis and anxiety symptoms in our samples. Anxiety symptoms were lowest in the patients with 3-vessel disease and highest in those with single-vessel disease. The above association remained significant in a linear regression model, controlled for the demographic, socioeconomic, and traditional risk factors. Conclusion: An inverse association may exist between the extent of coronary stenosis and the severity of anxiety symptoms in patients who undergo coronary angiography. Patients who undergo angiography and have fewer angiographic findings require screening for anxiety symptoms.
Background: Recent research has suggested vulnerability to perceived racial discrimination (PRD) as a mechanism behind high levels of depression seen in high socioeconomic status (SES) Black males. To better understand the effects of gender and SES on shaping experiences of PRD among Black youth in the United States, we used data from the Family and Community Health Study (FACHS) to explore the trajectory of PRD in Black youth by gender, SES, and place. Methods: Data came from FACHS, 1997–2017, which followed 889 children aged 10–12 years old at Wave 1 (n = 478; 53.8% females and n = 411; 46.2% males) for up to 18 years. Data were collected in seven waves. The main predictors of interest were gender, SES (parent education and annual family income), age, and place of residence. Main outcomes of interest were baseline and slope of PRD. Latent growth curve modeling (LGCM) was used for data analysis. Results: Gender, SES, place, and age were correlated with baseline and change in PRD over time. Male, high family income, and younger Black youth reported lower PRD at baseline but a larger increase in PRD over time. Youth who lived in Iowa (in a predominantly White area) reported higher PRD at baseline and also an increase in PRD over time. High parental education was not associated with baseline or change in PRD. Conclusion: In the United States, Black youth who are male, high income, and live in predominantly White areas experience an increase in PRD over time. Future research is needed on the interactions between gender, SES, and place on exposure and vulnerability of Black youth to PRD. Such research may explain the increased risk of depression in high SES Black males.
Shervin Assari
added 3 research items
Background: Built on the Blacks’ diminished return theory, defined as smaller effects of socioeconomic status (SES) on a wide range of health outcomes for African Americans compared to Whites, the current study compared African Americans and Whites for the association between household income and risk of lifetime, 12-month, and 30-day major depressive disorder (MDD). Methods: For the current cross-sectional study, we used data from the Collaborative Psychiatric Epidemiology Surveys (CPES), 2001–2003. With a nationally representative sampling, CPES included 4746 non-Hispanic African Americans and 7587 non-Hispanic Whites. The dependent variables were lifetime, 12-month, and 30-day MDD, measured using Composite International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI). The independent variable was household income. Age, gender, education, chronic medical conditions, and obesity were covariates. Race was the focal moderator. Logistic regression models were used to test the protective effects of household income against MDD in the overall sample and also by race. Results: In the overall sample, household income was inversely associated with the risk of 12-month and 30-day MDD. We found a significant interaction between race and household income on 12-month and 30-day MDD, suggesting a smaller protective effect of household income against MDD for African Americans compared to Whites. Conclusion: In line with the Blacks’ diminished return theory, household income better protects Whites than African Americans against MDD. The contribution of diminished return of SES as an underlying mechanism behind racial disparities in health in the United States is often overlooked. Additional research is needed on why and how SES resources generate smaller health gain among minority groups.
Introduction. Long-term studies have shown that depressive symptoms predict the risk of mortality. However, it is unknown if this effect is present in shorter time intervals. In addition, recent research suggests that the salience of the negative affect on the risk of mortality is not similar across racial groups. The current study uses data from a national study of Black and White older adults to examine racial differences in the effect of baseline depressive symptoms on mortality risk over three years in the United States. Methods. This study used a longitudinal prospective design and followed 1493 older adults who were either White (n = 759) or Black (n = 734) for three years from 2001 to 2004. Depressive symptoms measured at baseline was the independent variable. Demographic factors, socio-economic characteristics (education, income, marital status), health behaviors (smoking and drinking), and health (self-rated health) measured at baseline in 2001 were covariates. The dependent variable was all-cause mortality between 2001 and 2004. Race was the moderator. Logistic regressions were used for data analysis. Results. In the pooled sample, high depressive symptoms at baseline were not associated with the three-year risk of mortality. In the pooled sample, we found a significant interaction between race and depressive symptoms on mortality, suggesting a stronger effect for Whites in comparison to Blacks. In race stratified models, depressive symptoms at baseline were predictive of mortality risk for Whites, but not Blacks. Conclusions. In the United States, Black-White differences exist in the effects of depressive symptoms on mortality risk in older adults. White older adults may be more vulnerable to the effects of depressive symptoms on mortality risk.
Background. An extensive body of knowledge has documented weaker health effects of socio-economic status (SES) for Blacks compared to Whites, a phenomenon also known as Blacks’ diminished return. It is, however, unknown whether the same diminished return also holds for other ethnic minorities such as Hispanics or not. Aim. Using a nationally representative sample, the current study aimed to compare Non-Hispanic and Hispanic Whites for the effects of SES on self-rated oral health. Methods. For the current cross-sectional study, we used data from the Collaborative Psychiatric Epidemiology Surveys (CPES), 2001–2003. With a nationally representative sampling, CPES included 11,207 adults who were either non-Hispanic Whites (n = 7587) or Hispanic Whites (n = 3620. The dependent variable was self-rated oral health, treated as dichotomous measure. Independent variables were education, income, employment, and marital status. Ethnicity was the focal moderator. Age and gender were covariates. Logistic regressions were used for data analysis. Results. Education, income, employment, and marital status were associated with oral health in the pooled sample. Although education, income, employment, and marital status were associated with oral health in non-Hispanic Whites, none of these associations were found for Hispanic Whites. Conclusion. In a similar pattern to Blacks’ diminished return, differential gain of SES indicators exists between Hispanic and non-Hispanic Whites, with a disadvantage for Hispanic Whites. Diminished return of SES should be regarded as a systemically neglected contributing mechanism behind ethnic oral health disparities in the United States. Replication of Blacks’ diminished return for Hispanics suggests that these processes are not specific to ethnic minority groups, and non-White groups gain less because they are not enjoying the privilege and advantage of Whites.
Shervin Assari
added 4 research items
Background: A growing literature has revealed ethnic group differences in determinants and meanings of their self-rated health (SRH). Aim: To explore ethnic variations in the effects of socioeconomic determinants on poor physical SRH of Asians in the United States. Methods: Data came from the National Asian American Survey (NAAS), 2008, with 4977 non-U.S. born Asian Americans, including Asian Indian (n = 1150), Chinese (n = 1350), Filipino (n = 603), Japanese (n = 541), Korean (n = 614), and Vietnamese (n = 719) Americans. Demographic factors (age and gender), socioeconomic status (SES; education, employment, income, and marital status), and physical SRH were measured. Ethnic-specific logistic regressions were applied for data analysis where physical SRH was the outcome and demographic and social determinants were predictors. Results: According to logistic regressions, no social determinant was consistently associated with physical SRH across all ethnic groups. Being married was associated with better physical SRH in Asian Indians and worse SRH in the Filipino group. Education was associated with better SRH in Asian Indian, Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese Americans. High income was associated with better SRH in Chinese, Filipino, and Vietnamese Americans. Employment was associated with better SRH in Filipino Americans. Conclusion: Social determinants of physical SRH vary across ethnic groups of Asian Americans. Different ethnic groups are differently vulnerable to various social determinants of health. Application of single item SRH measures may be a source of bias in studies of health with ethnically diverse populations. Policy makers should be aware that the same change in social determinants may not result in similar change in the health of ethnic groups.
Environmental stressors, such as perceived discrimination (PD), are linked to Binge Eating Disorder (BED). The current study investigated the association between PD and BED among African Americans, and the variation in such an association based on gender. Data of the National Survey of American Life (NSAL), 2001–2003, with a nationally-representative sample of African American adults, were used (n = 3516). The independent variable in the study was PD. The dependent variable was BED, measured using the Composite International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI). Socio-demographics (age, education, employment, and marital status) were covariates, and gender was the moderator variable. Survey logistic regressions with and without gender × PD interaction terms were used for data analysis. In the pooled sample, PD was associated with higher odds of BED, net of socio-demographic factors. Models also showed a significant gender × PD interaction term suggesting a stronger association between PD and BED for women, compared to men. Gender specific models showed an association between PD and BED among female, but not male, African Americans. Although a link may exist between PD and BED among African Americans, the magnitude of this association depends on gender, with a stronger association among females than males. This finding is in line with the literature that has shown gender-specific consequences of environmental stress for African Americans.
Background: Although higher socioeconomic status (SES) indicators such as educational attainment are linked with health behaviors, the Blacks’ Diminished Return theory posits that the protective effects of SES are systemically smaller for Blacks than Whites. Aims: To explore the Black/White differences in the association between education and smoking. Methods: This cross-sectional study used the Health Information National Trends Survey (HINTS) 2017 (n = 3217). HINTS is a national survey of American adults. The current analysis included 2277 adults who were either Whites (n = 1868; 82%) or Blacks (n = 409; 18%). The independent variable was educational attainment, and the dependent variables were ever and current (past 30-day) smoking. Demographic factors (age and gender) were covariates. Race was the focal moderator. Results: In the pooled sample, higher educational attainment was associated with lower odds of ever and current smoking. Race interacted with the effects of higher educational attainment on current smoking, suggesting a stronger protective effect of higher education against current smoking for Whites than Blacks. Race did not interact with the effect of educational attainment on odds of ever smoking. Conclusions: In line with previous research in the United States, education is more strongly associated with health and health behaviors in Whites than Blacks. Smaller protective effects of education on health behaviors may be due to the existing racism across institutions such as the education system and labor market.
Shervin Assari
added 2 research items
Background: Most of the literature on the association between socioeconomic status (SES) and health is focused on the protective effects of SES. However, a growing literature suggests that high SES may also operate as a vulnerability factor. Aims: Using a national sample of African American youth, this study compared the effects of perceived discrimination on major depressive disorder (MDD) based on SES. Methods: The current cross-sectional study included 810 African American youth who participated in the National Survey of American Life-Adolescent supplement. The independent variable was perceived discrimination. Lifetime, 12-month, and 30-day MDD were the dependent variables. Age and gender were covariates. Three SES indicators (subjective SES, income, and poverty index) were moderators. We used logistic regressions for data analysis. Results: Perceived discrimination was associated with higher risk of lifetime, 12-month, and 30-day MDD. Interactions were found between subjective SES and perceived discrimination on lifetime, 12-month, and 30-day MDD, suggesting a stronger effect of perceived discrimination in youth with high subjective SES. Objective measures of SES (income and poverty index) did not interact with perceived discrimination on MDD. Conclusion: While perceived discrimination is a universally harmful risk factor for MDD, its effect may depend on the SES of the individual. Findings suggest that high subjective SES may operate as a vulnerability factor for African American youth.
Background: Higher socioeconomic status is known to decrease the risk for poor mental health overall. However, African American males of higher socioeconomic status (SES) are at an increased risk for having a major depressive episode (MDE). It is not known whether perceived discrimination (PD) explains this risk. The current study used nationally representative data to explore the role of PD in explaining the association between high-SES and having MDE among African American men. Methods: The National Survey of American Life (NSAL), 2003, included 4461 American adults including 1271 African American men. SES indicators (i.e., household income, educational attainment, employment status, and marital status) were the independent variables. 12-month MDE measured using the Composite International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI) was the outcome. Age, gender, and region were the covariates. PD was the potential mediator. For data analysis, we used logistic regression. Results: Among African American men, household income was positively associated with odds of 12-month MDE. The positive association between household income and odds of MDE remained unchanged after adding PD to the model, suggesting that PD may not explain why high-income African American men are at a higher risk of MDE. Conclusions: Perceived discrimination does not explain the increased risk for depression among African American males of higher SES. Future research should explore the role of other potential mechanisms such as stress, coping, social isolation, and/or negative social interaction that may increase psychological costs of upward social mobility for African American males.
Shervin Assari
added 2 research items
There are persistent and pervasive disparities in the health of Black people compared to non-Hispanic Whites in the United States. There are many reasons for this gap; this article explores the role of “Blacks’ diminished gain” as a mechanism behind racial health disparities. Diminished gain is a phenomenon wherein the health effects of certain socioeconomic resources and psychological assets are systematically smaller for Blacks compared to Whites. These patterns are robust, with similar findings across different resources, assets, outcomes, settings, cohorts, and age groups. However, the role of diminished gain as a main contributing mechanism to racial health disparities has been historically overlooked. This article reviews the research literature on diminished gain and discusses possible causes for it, such as the societal barriers created by structural racism. Policy solutions that may reduce Blacks’ diminished gain are discussed.
The health effects of economic resources (eg, education, employment, and living place) and psychological assets (eg, self-efficacy, perceived control over life, anger control, and emotions) are well-known. This article summarizes the results of a growing body of evidence documenting Blacks’ diminished return, defined as a systematically smaller health gain from economic resources and psychological assets for Blacks in comparison to Whites. Due to structural barriers that Blacks face in their daily lives, the very same resources and assets generate smaller health gain for Blacks compared to Whites. Even in the presence of equal access resources and assets, such unequal health gain constantly generates a racial health gap between Blacks and Whites in the United States. In this paper, a number of public policies are recommended based on these findings. First and foremost, public policies should not merely focus on equalizing access to resources and assets, but also reduce the societal and structural barriers that hinder Blacks. Policy solutions should aim to reduce various manifestations of structural racism including but not limited to differential pay, residential segregation, lower quality of education, and crime in Black and urban communities. As income was not found to follow the same pattern demonstrated for other resources and assets (ie, income generated similar decline in risk of mortality for Whites and Blacks), policies that enforce equal income and increase minimum wage for marginalized populations are essential. Improving quality of education of youth and employability of young adults will enable Blacks to compete for high paying jobs. Policies that reduce racism and discrimination in the labor market are also needed. Without such policies, it will be very difficult, if not impossible, to eliminate the sustained racial health gap in the United States.
Shervin Assari
added 2 research items
Aim: Using a nationally representative sample, the current study aimed to examine if the protective effect of income on chronic medical conditions (CMC) differs for African Americans compared to Whites. Methods: With a cross-sectional design, the National Survey of American Life (NSAL), 2003, included 3570 non-Hispanic African Americans and 891 non-Hispanic Whites. The dependent variable was CMC, treated as a continuous measure. The independent variable was income. Race was the focal moderator. Age, education, and marital status were covariates. Linear regressions were used to test if the protective effect of income against CMC varies by race. Results: High income was associated with a lower number of CMC in the pooled sample. We found a significant interaction between race and income, suggesting that income has a smaller protective effect against CMC for African Americans than it does for Whites. Conclusion: Blacks' diminished return also holds for the effects of income on CMC. Blacks' diminished return is a contributing mechanism to the racial disparities in health in the United States that is often overlooked. More research is needed on the role of diminished health return of SES resources among other minority groups.
Background Although the role of self-rated health (SRH) on all-cause mortality is known, we still do not know whether SRH predicts death due to specific causes (e.g., kidney disease). The current study aimed to compare Blacks and Whites on the association between SRH and mortality due to kidney diseases. A nationally representative sample of adults in the United States was used to provide generalizable results to the United States population. Materials and Methods The Americans’ Changing Lives study is a nationally representative cohort, conducted from 1986–2011. The study followed 3361 Blacks (n = 1156) and Whites (n = 2205) for up to 25 years. The outcome was time to death due to kidney diseases, derived from death certificates and the National Death Index. Cox proportional hazards models were used to test whether race and baseline SRH interact on mortality due to kidney diseases. Results In the pooled sample, poor SRH (odds ratio [OR] = 2.29, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.24–4.24) was associated with an increased risk of death due to kidney diseases over the follow-up period. Baseline SRH also showed a significant interaction with race on the outcome (OR = 0.49, 95% CI = 0.25–0.96), suggesting a stronger effect of SRH on deaths due to kidney diseases for Whites compared to Blacks. In race-specific models, poor SRH at baseline increased risk of death due to kidney diseases among Whites (OR = 2.23, 95% CI = 1.14–4.34) but not Blacks (OR = 1.14, 95% CI = 0.54–2.41). Conclusions Blacks and Whites differ regarding the predictive role of baseline SRH on death due to kidney diseases over time. Factors such as SRH better predict risk of mortality for Whites than for Blacks.
Shervin Assari
added a research item
This study aimed to investigate the interaction between gender and other socio-economic characteristics on sleep quality of the patients with Coronary Artery Disease (CAD). This cross sectional study was conducted on 717 patients with CAD. The socio- economic status (education level, income, marital status, and place of residence) was considered as the independent variable. Besides, the study outcome was the quality of sleep which was measured using Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI). Gender was considered as a possible effect modifier. Two-way ANOVA was used to evaluate the interaction between gender and socio-economic factors on sleep quality. As defined by Baron and Kenny, moderator was defined as a variable that affected the direction or magnitude of the association of interest. Female gender, low education level, and low income were predictive of poor sleep quality. Among female (10.0 ± 4.3 vs. 7.6 ± 5.0, P < 0.05), but not male patients (6.7 ± 4.2 vs. 7.0 ± 4.2, P > 0.05), low education was associated with poor sleep quality. Also, among female (10.0 ± 4.3 vs. 5.7 ± 2.5, P < 0.05), but not male patients (7.0 ± 4.2 vs. 6.0 ± 3.8, P > 0.05), low income was predictive of poor sleep quality. Gender did not modify the effect of other socio-economic factors on sleep quality. Among female but not male patients with CAD, low education and income were associated with poor sleep quality. This information helps us better understand the mechanisms behind the poor sleep quality of the female patients with CAD. This is important because poor sleep is a prognostic factor among the CAD patients.
Shervin Assari
added 4 research items
Background: Despite the wealth of literature on social determinants of mental health, less is known about the intersection of these determinants. Using a nationally representative sample, this study aimed to study separate, additive, and multiplicative effects of race, gender, and SES on the risk of major depressive episode (MDE) among American adults. Methods: National Survey of American Life (NSAL) included 3570 African Americans and 891 Whites. Race, gender, socioeconomic status (SES, household income, education, employment, and marital status) were independent variables. Twelve-month MDE was measured by the Composite International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI). A series of logistic regressions were used to analyze the data. Results: In the pooled sample, race and household income, but not gender, education, employment, and marital status were associated with 12-month MDE. Gender interacted with the effects of income on MDE, suggesting that the association between household income and MDE is larger for women than men. In race by gender specific models that controlled for other SES indicators, high income was protective for White women, education was protective for African American women, and high income became a risk factor for African American men. High income did not show a risk effect for African American men in the absence of other SES indicators. Conclusions: Findings suggest that race, gender, and class interact on how SES indicators, such as education or income, become a protective or a risk factor for MDE among American Adults. When the outcome is MDE, White women benefit more from income, African American women gain from education, however, the residual effect of high income (above and beyond education, employment, and marital status) may become a risk factor for African American men.
Background: Socio-economic status (SES), human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) knowledge and self-efficacy influence risky behaviors and female sex workers (FSWs) are not exception. Aims: This study was aimed to investigate if SES, HIV knowledge and self-efficacy predict frequency of unprotected sex with injecting drug users (IDUs) among a sample of FSWs in Iran. Setting and Design: Universal Network for Health Information Dissemination and Exchange HIV Risk Study was a survey of IDUs and FSWs, conducted in eight different provinces of Iran, 2009. Materials and Methods: A total of 55 FSWs were entered in this study. Frequency of unprotected sex with IDUs during the past 6 months was the dependent variable. Number of sexual partners during the past 6 month, SES, HIV Knowledge, self-efficacy, perceived HIV risk and intention for change were predictors. Statistical Analysis: We used hierarchical regression for data analysis. In each step, a block of predictors were added to the model. SES block composed of education level, owning a house and living alone. Results: In the absence of SES in the model, HIV knowledge and self-efficacy were not significantly associated with the frequency of unprotected sex with IDUs during the past 6 months, However, with adding SES block to the model, HIV knowledge became significant predictor of the outcome. Thus, among our sample of Iranian FSWs, SES has a suppressor effect for the effect of HIV knowledge on frequency of unprotected sex with IDUs during the past 6 months. Conclusion: Studies which wish to understand the role of theory-based psychological constructs such as HIV knowledge on high risk behaviors need to include SES an essential contextual factor. This finding may also explain why literature is mixed on the effect of HIV knowledge on HIV risk behaviors.
Background: Among most minority groups, males seem to report higher levels of exposure and vulnerability to racial discrimination. Although darker skin tone may increase exposure to racial discrimination, it is yet unknown whether skin tone similarly influences perceived discrimination among male and female Caribbean Black youth. Objective: The current cross-sectional study tests the role of gender on the effects of skin tone on perceived discrimination among Caribbean Black youth. Methods: Data came from the National Survey of American Life-Adolescent Supplement (NSAL-A), 2003-2004, which included 360 Caribbean Black youth (ages 13 to 17). Demographic factors (age and gender), socioeconomic status (SES; family income, income to needs ratio, and subjective SES), skin tone, and perceived everyday discrimination were measured. Linear regressions were used for data analysis. Results: In the pooled sample, darker skin tone was associated with higher levels of perceived discrimination among Caribbean Black youth (b = 0.48; 95% Confidence Interval (CI) = 0.07-0.89). A significant interaction was found between gender and skin tone (b = 1.17; 95% CI = 0.49-1.86), suggesting a larger effect of skin tone on perceived discrimination for males than females. In stratified models, darker skin tone was associated with more perceived discrimination for males (b = 1.20; 95% CI = 0.69-0.72) but not females (b = 0.06; 95% CI = -0.42-0.55). Conclusion: Similar to the literature documenting male gender as a vulnerability factor to the effects of racial discrimination, we found that male but not female Caribbean Black youth with darker skin tones perceive more discrimination.
Shervin Assari
added 2 research items
Although several studies have been conducted on the association between lipid profile and sexual function among men with coronary artery disease, there is a paucity of knowledge about this association among women with coronary artery disease. Our study aimed to evaluate the link between lipid profile and sexual function in men and women with coronary artery disease. One hundred and twenty patients with documented coronary artery disease were consecutively sampled from an outpatient cardiovascular clinic. The patients were assessed for lipid profile and sexual relationship using the Relation and Sexuality Scale (RSS). In addition, the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) was used to measure the symptoms of anxiety and depression. The characteristics of chest pain were also measured using the Rose Angina Questionnaire. The data were analyzed through linear regression analysis. This study was conducted on 91 males (75.8%) and 29 females (24.2%). Multivariate analysis showed that low-density lipoprotein cholesterol was correlated with sexual function (B = 0.01, P = 0.010) and total sexual relationship (B = 0.01, P = 0.050). A correlation was also observed between the level of high-density lipoprotein and sexual frequency score (B = -0.02, P = 0.040). Gender moderated these correlations. Among males, serum cholesterol (r = 0.193, P = 0.047) and low-density lipoprotein (r = 0.224, P = 0.037) were correlated to sexual function. In females, however, low-density lipoprotein was correlated to the total sexual relationship (r = 0.426, P = 0.021) and high-density lipoprotein was correlated to sexual frequency (r = -0.334, P = 0.046). The findings of this study showed a relationship between lipid profile and sexual relationship among both male and female patients with coronary artery disease. The link between lipid profile and sexual function of the patients with coronary artery disease is thus beyond just the effect of lipid profile on erectile dysfunction.
PurposeThis study tested possible cross-country differences in the associations between diabetes and activities of daily living (ADLs), and possible confounding / mediating effects of socio-economic status, obesity, and exercise. Data came from Research on Early Life and Aging Trends and Effects (RELATE). The study included a total number of 25,372 community sample of adults who were 40 years or older. We used data from community based surveys in seven countries including China, Mexico, Barbados, Brazil, Chile, Cuba, and Uruguay. Demographics (age and gender), socio-economic status (education and income), obesity, exercise, and ADL (bath, dress, toilet, transfer, heavy, shopping, meals) were measured. Self-reported data on physician diagnosis of diabetes was independent variable. We tested if diabetes is associated with ADL, before and after adjusting for socioeconomics, obesity, and exercise in each country. Based on Model I (age and gender adjusted model), diabetes was associated with limitation in at least one ADL in Mexico, Barbados, Brazil, Chile, Cuba, and Uruguay, but not China. Based on Model II that also controlled for education and income, education explained the association between diabetes and limitation in ADL in Mexico and Uruguay. Based on Model III that also controlled for exercise and obesity, in Cuba and Brazil, exercise explained the link between diabetes and limitation in performing ADLs. Thus, the link between diabetes and ADL was independent of our covariates only in Chile and Barbados. There are cross-country differences in the link between diabetes and limitation in ADL. There are also cross-country differences in how socio-economic status, obesity, and exercise explain the above association.
Shervin Assari
added 4 research items
Purpose: This study explored cross-country differences in the additive effects of socio-economic characteristics, health behaviors and medical comorbidities on subjective health of patients with diabetes. The study analyzed data from the Research on Early Life and Aging Trends and Effects (RELATE). Participants were 9,179 adults with diabetes who were sampled from 15 countries (i.e. China, Costa Rica, Puerto Rico, United States, Mexico, Argentina, Barbados, Brazil, Chile, Cuba, Uruguay, India, Ghana, South Africa, and Russia). We fitted three logistic regressions to each country. Model I only included socio-economic characteristics (i.e. age, gender, education and income). In Model II, we also included health behaviors (i.e. smoking, drinking, and exercise). Model III included medical comorbidities (i.e. hypertension, respiratory disease, heart disease, stroke, and arthritis), in addition to the previous blocks. Our models suggested cross-country differences in the additive effects of socio-economic characteristics, health behaviors and comorbidities on perceived health of patients with diabetes. Comorbid heart disease was the only condition that was consistently associated with poor subjective health regardless of country. Countries show different profiles of social and behavioral determinants of subjective health among patients with diabetes. Our study suggests that universal programs that assume that determinants of well-being are similar across different countries may be over-simplistic. Thus instead of universal programs that use one protocol for health promotion of patients in all countries, locally designed interventions should be implemented in each country.
Aim This study tested the association between obesity and major depressive disorder (MDD) in a national representative sample of Black adults in the USA. The study also explored the above association in subsamples based on ethnicity and gender. Method Data came from the National Survey of American Life (NSAL), a household mental health survey of adult Black Americans. Participants consisted of 5,191 Black adults (3,570 African Americans and 1,621 Caribbean Blacks). Classes I to III of obesity were defined based on body mass index (BMI) of equal or larger than 30, 35, and 40 kg/m2, respectively. Twelve-month MDD was determined using the World Mental Health Composite International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI), a fully structured diagnostic interview. For each ethnicity–gender subgroup, we ran a separate logistic regression model. We tested gradient and threshold effects of BMI on MDD. Unadjusted and adjusted odds ratios (ORs) were reported. Result Direction of association between BMI and MDD was reversed among men and women. Among men, there was a positive association between BMI and MDD, while among women, the association was negative. The gradient effect of BMI level on MDD reached statistical significance only among African American men (OR = 0.71, 95 % confidence interval (CI) = 0.51–0.99). Among women, a significant interaction was found between the effects of BMI ≥40 and African American ethnicity on odds of developing MDD [change in OR = 8.840, 95 % CI = 1.315–59.418]. That interaction term suggests that the effect of BMI ≥40 on MDD is significantly smaller among African American women than Caribbean Black women. Conclusion The direction and magnitude of the association between BMI and MDD among Blacks depend on ethnicity and gender. Risk of comorbid depression among women with severe obesity among Black women is smaller among African Americans than Caribbean Blacks.
The current study examined race and ethnic differences in the separate and combined (additive) effects of anxiety, depression and problem drinking on the baseline and trajectory of subjective health among adult men in the United States. This longitudinal study used data from the Fragile Families and Child Well-being Study. We included 4,655 men, composed of 2,407 Blacks, 1,354 Hispanic Whites and 894 non-Hispanic Whites. The dependent variable was subjective health, measured four times (i.e., baseline, year 1, year 3 and year 5). Latent growth curve modeling was used for data analysis. When controlling for socio-economics, we tested separate effects of anxiety and depression. Then we tested combined effects of anxiety, depression and problem drinking. Among all race and ethnic groups, anxiety and problem drinking were associated with baseline and trajectory of subjective health. Combined (additive) effects of anxiety and depression, however, varied based on race and ethnicity. Among Blacks, depression and anxiety were associated with a worse trajectory of subjective health. Among non-Hispanic Whites, anxiety was associated with a better baseline and worse trajectory of subjective health, while depression was associated with worse baseline subjective health. Among Hispanic Whites, anxiety was associated with a worse trajectory of subjective health, while depression was not associated with subjective health. Although separate effects of anxiety and problem drinking were similar among race and ethnic groups, race and ethnicity seemed to modify the combined effects of different mental health problems. These results warrant further exploration of these complex links.
Shervin Assari
added 2 research items
Background: This study aimed to investigate differences in the association between socioeconomic status (SES) and glycemic control in type 2 diabetes mellitus (DM) across race by gender groups. Methods: Using a convenient sampling strategy, participants were 112 patients with type 2 DM who were prescribed insulin (ns = 38 Black women, 34 Black men, 14 White women, and 26 White men, respectively). Linear regression was used to test the associations between sociodemographic variables (race, gender, SES, governmental insurance) and Hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) in the pooled sample and within subgroups defined by race and gender. Results: In the pooled sample, neither SES nor governmental insurance were associated with HbA1c. However, the race by gender interaction approached statistical significance (B = 0.34, 95% CI = −0.24–3.00, p =0.094), suggesting higher HbA1c in Black women, compared to other race by gender groups. In stratified models, SES (B = −0.33, 95% CI = −0.10–0.00, p = 0.050), and governmental insurance (B = 0.35, 95% CI = 0.05–2.42, p = 0.042) were associated with HbA1c for Black men, but not for any of the other race by gender subgroups. Conclusion: Socioeconomic factors may relate to health outcomes differently across race by gender subgroups. In particular, SES may be uniquely important for glycemic control of Black men. Due to lack of generalizability of the findings, additional research is needed.