Ethnic group density effects on physical health

There is some evidence that the health of members of low status ethnic minorities is less good if they live in areas where they are in more of a minority. If this reflects the stress of exposure to the stigmatization associated with minority status, then it may serve as a model for, and opportunity to explore, wider processes of social comparison which may be important in social inequalities in health. The group density phenomenon is potentially important not only because it may be a testament to the experience of all stigmatized minorities, including the poor, but also because it enables us to distinguish between the effects of better material conditions usually enjoyed by people living in majority areas, and the psychosocial effects of discrimination.

An ethnic group density effect was first observed for mental health and has now been reported in a few studies of physical health. In this project we aim to conduct a systematic programme of secondary data analyses on the effects of ethnic density on physical health. The project uses quantitative, multilevel methods within six datasets to: establish the saliency of ethnic density effects for physical health; identify the “tipping point” at which ethnic density becomes protective for health; and establish the size of areas in which any effect is clearest.

Public Health and Society Research in the Department of Health Sciences