Perceived discrimination and health by gender, social class, and country of birth in a Southern European country

Prev Med. Jan-Feb 2010;50(1-2):86-92. doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2009.10.016. Epub 2009 Nov 3.


OBJECTIVES.: This study aimed to examine the association between perceived discrimination and five health outcomes in Spain as well as to analyze whether these relationships are modified by sex, country of birth, or social class. METHODS.: We used a cross-sectional design. Data were collected as part of the 2006 Spanish Health Interview Survey. The present analysis was restricted to the population aged 16-64 years (n=23,760). Five dependent variables on health obtained through the questionnaire were examined. Perceived discrimination was the main independent variable. We obtained the prevalence of perceived discrimination. Logistic regression models were fitted. RESULTS.: Perceived discrimination was higher among populations originating from low income countries and among women and showed positive and consistent associations with all poor health outcomes among men and with 3 poor health outcomes among women. Poor mental health showed the largest difference between people who felt and those who did not feel discriminated (prevalence for these 2 groups among men was 42.0% and 13.3%, and among women, was 44.7% and 22.8%). The patterns found were modified by gender, country of birth, and social class. CONCLUSION.: This study has found a consistent relationship of discrimination with five health indicators in Spain, a high-income Southern European country. Public policies are needed that aim to reduce discrimination.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Healthcare Disparities*
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prejudice*
  • Sex Factors
  • Social Class*
  • Spain
  • Young Adult