Ethnic differences in anticipated discrimination, generalised trust in other people and self-rated health: a population-based study in Sweden

Mohabbat Mohseni, Martin Lindström
Ethnicity & Health 2008 November 1, 13 (5): 417-34
This paper investigates the relationship between anticipation that employers may discriminate against certain people (not specified, but not specifically the respondent) according to race, colour of skin, religion or cultural background, and self-rated health, adjusting for social capital in the form of generalised (horizontal) trust in other people. It also investigates ethnic differences in anticipated discrimination in relation to self-rated health. The 2004 Public Health Survey in the Scania region of Sweden is a cross-sectional study. Twenty-seven thousand nine hundred and sixty-three respondents aged 18-80 years answered a postal questionnaire, which represents 59% of the random sample. A logistic regression model was used to assess the association between anticipated discrimination and self-rated health. Multivariate analyses of self-rated health were performed in order to investigate the importance of possible confounders (age, country of origin, education, economic stress, and generalised trust) on this association. Of the men and the women, 28.7 and 33.2%, respectively, rated their health as poor. Of the respondents, 16.0 and 28.7% reported that they anticipated that 'most employers' or 'approximately 50% of employers' would discriminate, respectively. Respondents with high age, born outside Sweden, with low/medium education, economic stress, low horizontal trust, and with anticipation that most or approximately 50% of employers (among men born in Sweden and all women) would discriminate had significantly higher odds ratios of poor self-rated health. Multiple adjustments had a slight effect on the significant relationship between anticipated discrimination and poor self-rated health for both men and women. The introduction of generalised trust in the models reduced the odds ratios to a limited extent. In conclusion, the anticipation that employers may discriminate against certain people (not the respondent) according to race, colour of skin, religion or cultural background is associated with poor self-rated health. However, this is a cross-sectional exploratory study and causality may go in both directions.

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