Perceptions and Identity; The Locus of Health Disparities among Black American Women

by Brand.Stark on November 14, 2016 - 9:24pm

Perceptions and Identity; The Locus of Health Disparities among Black American Women


Carter and Pieterse’s (2010) study examined the relationship between racial identity and perceived racism as predictor variables and perceptions of health amongst Black American women. The authors also wanted to exhibit the importance of taking race and culture into consideration when looking at health disparities amongst minority groups. Although previous research on the topic often lead to generalized results and anticipated conclusions, Carter and Pieterse’s study included a group (90) of socio-economically diverse women, multiple specific self-reporting questionnaires and allowed for a better understanding of the individual conditions that underlie the difference in health care caused by race. The method employed consisted of a sample of 90 self-identifying African American women each taking five complex self-reporting questionnaires and compiling the results for further analysis. The authors used questionnaires ranging from the Personal Data Form (PDF) to the more specific Schedule of Racist Events form (SRE-M) to gather as much information as possible about the contributing factors. Results of a canonical correlational analysis indicated a shared variance of 37% between the two sets of variables. (racial identity, perceived racism, …) Furthermore, the study shows that African American women who experience racial incidents are more likely to see their health outcomes as things that are out of their control, in the hands of people with power, out of chance or fate, and see their general health status in a negative way. Consequentially, African American women that experience indirect or direct racism are more susceptible to seeing their health status in a negative way. Conclusively, the authors findings reveal that race, racial identity, culture and perceived racism are indeed important determinants to consider when analyzing health disparities and health status in African American women across the United States. In addition, the findings highlight the potential of racism and racial identity to influence all African American (including men and children) sense of control over their health, and provide essential information on how to deal and support with the consequences race impose on general health and healthcare.

(332 words.)



Response: The study itself has the merits of being very exploratory; it covers and analyzes a subject very few scholars consider when they study healthcare and health disparities in the United States. Furthermore, the study provides much needed information in regards to health care utilization and identifying the best way to support oppressed people in need. In contrast, even if the study uses a socio-economically diverse sample, 90 people hardly suffices when it comes to analyzing trends in a given society or culture. You can’t paint the picture of a people when you’ve only examined such a small amount of them… A very strong point of this study though, in my opinion, lies in its validity in our modern setting. The study and research shed a light on the fact that even in 2016, the various forms of racism (individual, direct, in-direct and systemic) still represent barriers to receiving adequate healthcare for the different racial groups, and how we still have a tremendous amount of work to do if we wish to create equity amongst citizens. As we saw in our lectures, race medicine is an all-too-real reality that many people have to face on a daily basis, and its existence is cause for us to change the way we deal with medicine, and the people subjected to it.

(218 words.)



Pieterse, A. L., PhD., & Carter, R. T., PhD. (2010). An exploratory investigation of the relationship between racism, racial identity, perceptions of health, and health locus of control among black american women. Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved, 21(1), 334-48. Retrieved from