The Missing Link in the Social Determinants Literature: The Impact of Political Factors on Health Status and Health Disparities in the United States by Vickie Ybarra, Gabriel Sanchez, Jillian Medeiros :: SSRN

As scholars with the social sciences have focused greater attention to U.S. health policy and public health, the literature focused on the social determinants of health and racial/ethnic health inequities has expanded greatly in recent years. However, political science has been largely absent from these discussions, and consequently few have explored the relationship between political factors and racial/ethnic health status inequities. The limitation in the extant research is problematic, as public policy decisions that directly impact health outcomes are made by elected officials within highly politicized electoral environments. We attempt to address this underexplored research arena by testing the relationship between political factors including political agency, political participation, trust in government, voting, and mobilization on self-defined health status. We hypothesize that even after controlling for socio-demographic factors, political variables will help explain variation in health status across the four major racial/ethnic groups in the U.S.

We perceive that the lack of work in this area has been driven primarily by data limitations. Specifically, surveys have unfortunately not provided scholars with both health indicators and political factors within the same data set. We therefore take advantage of a unique data source, the 2008 Collaborative Multi-Racial Post Election Survey (CMPS), a political survey that provides a measure of self-identified health status to be used as a dependent variable in our analysis. The dataset includes completed surveys on 4,563 respondents who self-identified as Asian, Black, Latino, and White, permitting substantive comparisons among racial/ethnic groups. This diversity in respondents will allow our findings to speak to racial and ethnic health status inequities, an outcomes that we argue is at least partially explained by disparities in political agency. Our findings will have implications for future social science research on health status outcomes, in terms of productively applying the World Health Organization Social Determinants of Health conceptual framework to testable hypotheses of political impacts on health.

via The Missing Link in the Social Determinants Literature: The Impact of Political Factors on Health Status and Health Disparities in the United States by Vickie Ybarra, Gabriel Sanchez, Jillian Medeiros :: SSRN.

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