Racial/Ethnic Differences in US Health Behaviors: A Decomposition Analysis

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Objective: To quantify contributions of individual sociodemographic factors, neighborhood socioeconomic status (NSES), and unmeasured factors to racial/ethnic differences in health behaviors for non-Hispanic (NH) whites, NH blacks, and Mexican Americans. Methods: We used linear regression and Oaxaca decomposition analyses. Results: Although individual characteristics and NSES contributed to racial/ethnic differences in health behaviors, differential responses by individual characteristics and NSES also played a significant role. Conclusions: There are racial/ethnic differences in the way that individual-level determinants and NSES affect health behaviors. Understanding the mechanisms for differential responses could inform community interventions and public health campaigns that target particular groups.


Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: May 1, 2011

More about this publication?
  • The American Journal of Health Behavior seeks to improve the quality of life through multidisciplinary health efforts in fostering a better understanding of the multidimensional nature of both individuals and social systems as they relate to health behaviors.

    The Journal aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the impact of personal attributes, personality characteristics, behavior patterns, social structure, and processes on health maintenance, health restoration, and health improvement; to disseminate knowledge of holistic, multidisciplinary approaches to designing and implementing effective health programs; and to showcase health behavior analysis skills that have been proven to affect health improvement and recovery.

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