Oct 12, 2006
Effects of Race/Ethnicity, Language, and Access
Published in: Health Services Research, v. 38, no. 4, Aug. 2003, p. 1009-1031
Posted on RAND.org on December 31, 2002
OBJECTIVE: To examine the effects of race/ethnicity, language, and potential access on parents' reports of pediatric primary care experiences. DATA SOURCES/STUDY SETTING: Primary survey data were collected (67 percent response rate) from 3,406 parents of students in kindergarten through sixth grade in a large urban school district in California during the 1999-2000 school year. DATA COLLECTION: The data were collected by mail, telephone, and in person. Surveys were administered in English, Spanish, Vietnamese, and Tagalog. STUDY DESIGN: Data were analyzed using multiple regression models. The dependent variable was parents' reports of primary care quality, assessed via the previously validated Parents' Perceptions of Primary Care measure (P3C). The independent variables were race/ethnicity, language, and potential access to care (insurance status, presence of a regular provider of care), controlling for child age, gender, and chronic health condition status, and mother's education. PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Parents' reports of primary care quality varied according to race/ethnicity, with Asian and Latino parents reporting lower P3C scores than African Americans and whites. In multivariate analyses, both language and potential access exerted strong independent effects on primary care quality, reducing the effect of race/ethnicity such that the coefficient for Latinos was no longer significant, and the coefficient for Asians was much smaller, though still statistically significant. CONCLUSIONS: To reduce racial/ethnic disparities in primary care, attention should be paid both to policies aimed at improving potential access and to providing linguistically appropriate services.