The Enhanced Self-Reported Health Outcome Observed in Hispanics/Latinos Who are Socially-Assigned as White is Dependent on Nativity

J Immigr Minor Health. 2015 Dec;17(6):1803-10. doi: 10.1007/s10903-014-0134-4.


A growing body of research seeks to conceptualize race as a multi-dimensional construct, attempting to move beyond a dummy variable approach to study social disparities. This research uses 'socially-assigned race', 'ascribed race', or 'what race others think you are' as opposed to self-identified race to assess self-rated health status among a representative study of the Latino population (n = 1,200). Our analysis shows how important the lived experience of Latinos and Hispanics (as measured by ascribed race and a host of control variables, including nativity and national origin) is on self-reported health. Using a series of logistic regressions, we find support for the 'white advantage' in Latino health status that is suggested in the literature, but this finding is sensitive to nativity, citizenship, and national origin. This research informs the study of racial and ethnic disparities, providing a detailed explanation for the 'white health advantage' finding within the socially-assigned race and health disparities literature.

Keywords: Ascribed race; Citizenship; Health disparities; Nativity; Socially assigned race.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Continental Population Groups / ethnology
  • Continental Population Groups / psychology*
  • Educational Status
  • Ethnic Groups / psychology*
  • Female
  • Health Status*
  • Health Surveys / standards*
  • Hispanic Americans / psychology
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Self Report / standards*
  • Socioeconomic Factors