Social inequalities, stressors and self reported health status among African American and white women in the Detroit metropolitan area

Soc Sci Med. 2000 Dec;51(11):1639-53. doi: 10.1016/s0277-9536(00)00084-8.


This article examines the cumulative effects of multiple stressors on women's health, by race and area of residence. Specifically, we examine socioeconomic status, experiences of unfair treatment and acute life events by race and residential location, and their cumulative effects on the health status of African American and white women living within the city of Detroit and in the surrounding metropolitan area. African American women, regardless of whether they live inside or outside the city, report more frequent encounters with everyday unfair treatment than white women. African American women who live in the city report a greater number of acute life events than white women who live outside the city. Regression analyses used to examine the cumulative effects of exposure to these stressors by race and area of residence show that: (1) socioeconomic status, everyday experiences with unfair treatment and acute life events each make a significant contribution to differences in health status; and (2) the contribution of each of these variables to explaining variations in health status varies by area of residence. We suggest that differences in socioeconomic status, exposure to unfair treatment or discrimination and experiences of acute life events make significant contributions to racial differences in women's health status.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • African Americans / psychology
  • African Americans / statistics & numerical data*
  • Aged
  • European Continental Ancestry Group / psychology
  • European Continental Ancestry Group / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Health Status*
  • Humans
  • Michigan / epidemiology
  • Middle Aged
  • Prejudice*
  • Race Relations
  • Regression Analysis
  • Residence Characteristics
  • Social Justice
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Stress, Psychological
  • Urban Health / classification*
  • Urban Health / statistics & numerical data
  • Women's Health*