An empirical analysis of White privilege, social position and health

Naa Oyo A Kwate, Melody Goodman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Accumulated evidence has demonstrated that social position matters for health. Those with greater socioeconomic resources and greater perceived standing in the social hierarchy have better health than those with fewer resources and lower perceived standing. Race is another salient axis by which health is stratified in the U.S., but few studies have examined the benefit of White privilege. In this paper, we investigated how perceptions of inequality and subjective and objective social status affected the health and well-being of N=630 White residents in three Boston neighborhoods lying on a social gradient differentiated by race, ethnicity, income and prestige. Outcomes were self-rated health, dental health, and happiness. Results suggested that: neighborhood residence was not associated with health after controlling for individual level factors (e.g., positive ratings of the neighborhood, education level); objective measures of socioeconomic status were associated with better self-reported and dental health, but subjective assessments of social position were more strongly associated; and White residents living in the two wealthiest neighborhoods, and who perceived Black families as welcome in their neighborhoods enjoyed better health than those who believed them to be less welcome. However, those who lived in the least wealthy and most diverse neighborhood fared worse when reporting Black families to be welcome. These results suggest that White privilege and relative social position interact to shape health outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)150-160
Number of pages11
JournalSocial Science and Medicine
Volume116
DOIs
StatePublished - 2014

Fingerprint

social position
privilege
Health
health
Tooth
Social Hierarchy
social status
Happiness
Diagnostic Self Evaluation
White Privilege
resident
Social Class
Health Status
prestige
happiness
resources
Education
ethnicity
well-being
rating

Keywords

  • Inequality
  • Neighborhood
  • Social position
  • Socioeconomic status
  • White privilege
  • Whites/European Americans

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • History and Philosophy of Science
  • Medicine(all)

Cite this

An empirical analysis of White privilege, social position and health. / Kwate, Naa Oyo A; Goodman, Melody.

In: Social Science and Medicine, Vol. 116, 2014, p. 150-160.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

@article{fcb51afbdb774c93bd224817bf8a1a6e,
title = "An empirical analysis of White privilege, social position and health",
abstract = "Accumulated evidence has demonstrated that social position matters for health. Those with greater socioeconomic resources and greater perceived standing in the social hierarchy have better health than those with fewer resources and lower perceived standing. Race is another salient axis by which health is stratified in the U.S., but few studies have examined the benefit of White privilege. In this paper, we investigated how perceptions of inequality and subjective and objective social status affected the health and well-being of N=630 White residents in three Boston neighborhoods lying on a social gradient differentiated by race, ethnicity, income and prestige. Outcomes were self-rated health, dental health, and happiness. Results suggested that: neighborhood residence was not associated with health after controlling for individual level factors (e.g., positive ratings of the neighborhood, education level); objective measures of socioeconomic status were associated with better self-reported and dental health, but subjective assessments of social position were more strongly associated; and White residents living in the two wealthiest neighborhoods, and who perceived Black families as welcome in their neighborhoods enjoyed better health than those who believed them to be less welcome. However, those who lived in the least wealthy and most diverse neighborhood fared worse when reporting Black families to be welcome. These results suggest that White privilege and relative social position interact to shape health outcomes.",
keywords = "Inequality, Neighborhood, Social position, Socioeconomic status, White privilege, Whites/European Americans",
author = "Kwate, {Naa Oyo A} and Melody Goodman",
year = "2014",
doi = "10.1016/j.socscimed.2014.05.041",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "116",
pages = "150--160",
journal = "Social Science and Medicine",
issn = "0277-9536",
publisher = "Elsevier Limited",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - An empirical analysis of White privilege, social position and health

AU - Kwate, Naa Oyo A

AU - Goodman, Melody

PY - 2014

Y1 - 2014

N2 - Accumulated evidence has demonstrated that social position matters for health. Those with greater socioeconomic resources and greater perceived standing in the social hierarchy have better health than those with fewer resources and lower perceived standing. Race is another salient axis by which health is stratified in the U.S., but few studies have examined the benefit of White privilege. In this paper, we investigated how perceptions of inequality and subjective and objective social status affected the health and well-being of N=630 White residents in three Boston neighborhoods lying on a social gradient differentiated by race, ethnicity, income and prestige. Outcomes were self-rated health, dental health, and happiness. Results suggested that: neighborhood residence was not associated with health after controlling for individual level factors (e.g., positive ratings of the neighborhood, education level); objective measures of socioeconomic status were associated with better self-reported and dental health, but subjective assessments of social position were more strongly associated; and White residents living in the two wealthiest neighborhoods, and who perceived Black families as welcome in their neighborhoods enjoyed better health than those who believed them to be less welcome. However, those who lived in the least wealthy and most diverse neighborhood fared worse when reporting Black families to be welcome. These results suggest that White privilege and relative social position interact to shape health outcomes.

AB - Accumulated evidence has demonstrated that social position matters for health. Those with greater socioeconomic resources and greater perceived standing in the social hierarchy have better health than those with fewer resources and lower perceived standing. Race is another salient axis by which health is stratified in the U.S., but few studies have examined the benefit of White privilege. In this paper, we investigated how perceptions of inequality and subjective and objective social status affected the health and well-being of N=630 White residents in three Boston neighborhoods lying on a social gradient differentiated by race, ethnicity, income and prestige. Outcomes were self-rated health, dental health, and happiness. Results suggested that: neighborhood residence was not associated with health after controlling for individual level factors (e.g., positive ratings of the neighborhood, education level); objective measures of socioeconomic status were associated with better self-reported and dental health, but subjective assessments of social position were more strongly associated; and White residents living in the two wealthiest neighborhoods, and who perceived Black families as welcome in their neighborhoods enjoyed better health than those who believed them to be less welcome. However, those who lived in the least wealthy and most diverse neighborhood fared worse when reporting Black families to be welcome. These results suggest that White privilege and relative social position interact to shape health outcomes.

KW - Inequality

KW - Neighborhood

KW - Social position

KW - Socioeconomic status

KW - White privilege

KW - Whites/European Americans

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84904889507&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=84904889507&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1016/j.socscimed.2014.05.041

DO - 10.1016/j.socscimed.2014.05.041

M3 - Article

C2 - 25014267

AN - SCOPUS:84904889507

VL - 116

SP - 150

EP - 160

JO - Social Science and Medicine

JF - Social Science and Medicine

SN - 0277-9536

ER -