Race, socioeconomic status, and perceived discrimination among healthy women

Academic Article


  • Objectives: Perceived discrimination and socioeconomic status (SES) have been found to be related to health problems. However, little is known about how SES and ethnicity relate to perception and responses to discrimination. This study examined the relationship between race and a set of SES indicators, perceived discrimination (race and gender), and responses to perceived discrimination among healthy women. Methods: The sample consisted of 460 women between the ages of 18 and 39 (194 black and 266 white). The independent variables included income, education, occupation, and race. The dependent variables included perceived discrimination (race/color and gender) and responses to unfair treatment. Results: Income and education were both directly related to perceived racial discrimination. However, the relationship between education and perceived discrimination was modified by race. For white women, only higher education was related to less perceived discrimination, and there was no significant difference across education levels for black women. Education was the only variable significantly associated with perceived gender discrimination (more highly educated women reported more discrimination). Occupation and race were both related to responses to perceived discrimination. Black women were significantly less likely to talk to someone when treated unfairly than white women (OR = 0.37, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.191, 0.716), and women in managerial/professional positions were significantly more likely to do something about being treated unfairly than women in service occupations (OR = 4.76, CI = 2.14, 10.61). Conclusions: Our results suggest that both SES and race play important roles in women's perceptions of and responses to perceived discrimination. © Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.
  • Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Watson JM; Scarinci IC; Klesges RC; Slawson D; Beech BM
  • Start Page

  • 441
  • End Page

  • 451
  • Volume

  • 11
  • Issue

  • 5