Self-reported experience of racial discrimination and health care use in New Zealand: results from the 2006/07 New Zealand Health Survey

Am J Public Health. 2012 May;102(5):1012-9. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2011.300626. Epub 2012 Mar 15.


Objectives: We investigated whether reported experience of racial discrimination in health care and in other domains was associated with cancer screening and negative health care experiences.

Methods: We used 2006/07 New Zealand Health Survey data (n = 12 488 adults). We used logistic regression to examine the relationship of reported experience of racial discrimination in health care (unfair treatment by a health professional) and in other domains (personal attack, unfair treatment in work and when gaining housing) to breast and cervical cancer screening and negative patient experiences adjusted for other variables.

Results: Racial discrimination by a health professional was associated with lower odds of breast (odds ratio [OR] = 0.37; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.14, 0.996) and cervical cancer (OR = 0.51; 95% CI = 0.30, 0.87) screening among Maori women. Racial discrimination by a health professional (OR = 1.57; 95% CI = 1.15, 2.14) and racial discrimination more widely (OR = 1.55; 95% CI = 1.35, 1.79) were associated with negative patient experiences for all participants.

Conclusions: Experience of racial discrimination in both health care and other settings may influence health care use and experiences of care and is a potential pathway to poor health.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Asian People / statistics & numerical data
  • Breast Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Early Detection of Cancer / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Health Services / statistics & numerical data*
  • Health Services Research
  • Healthcare Disparities / ethnology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander / statistics & numerical data
  • New Zealand / epidemiology
  • Prejudice*
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • White People / statistics & numerical data