Racial/ethnic Differences in US Health Behaviors
A Decomposition Analysis
Published in: American Journal of Health Behavior, v. 35, no. 3, May/June 2011. p. 290-304
Posted on RAND.org on April 30, 2011
OBJECTIVE: To quantify contributions of individual sociodemographic factors, neighborhood socioeconomic status (NSES), and unmeasured factors to racial/ethnic differences in health behaviors for non-Hispanic (NH) whites, NH blacks, and Mexican Americans. METHODS: We used linear regression and Oaxaca decomposition analyses. RESULTS: Although individual characteristics and NSES contributed to racial/ethnic differences in health behaviors, differential responses by individual characteristics and NSES also played a significant role. CONCLUSIONS: There are racial/ethnic differences in the way that individual-level determinants and NSES affect health behaviors. Understanding the mechanisms for differential responses could inform community interventions and public health campaigns that target particular groups.