Perceived discrimination and health by gender, social class, and country of birth in a Southern European country

Carme Borrell, Carles Muntaner, Diana Gil-González, Lucia Artazcoz, Maica Rodríguez-Sanz, Izabella Rohlfs, Katherine Pérez, Mar García-Calvente, Rodrigo Villegas, Carlos Álvarez-Dardet

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives.: This study aimed to examine the association between perceived discrimination and five health outcomes in Spain as well as to analyze whether these relationships are modified by sex, country of birth, or social class. Methods.: We used a cross-sectional design. Data were collected as part of the 2006 Spanish Health Interview Survey. The present analysis was restricted to the population aged 16-64 years (n = 23,760). Five dependent variables on health obtained through the questionnaire were examined. Perceived discrimination was the main independent variable. We obtained the prevalence of perceived discrimination. Logistic regression models were fitted. Results.: Perceived discrimination was higher among populations originating from low income countries and among women and showed positive and consistent associations with all poor health outcomes among men and with 3 poor health outcomes among women. Poor mental health showed the largest difference between people who felt and those who did not feel discriminated (prevalence for these 2 groups among men was 42.0% and 13.3%, and among women, was 44.7% and 22.8%). The patterns found were modified by gender, country of birth, and social class. Conclusion.: This study has found a consistent relationship of discrimination with five health indicators in Spain, a high-income Southern European country. Public policies are needed that aim to reduce discrimination.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)86-92
Number of pages7
JournalPreventive Medicine
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 2010 Jan

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was partially funded by «CIBER Epidemiología y Salud Pública» (Spain) and by the “Ministerio de Sanidad y Consumo–Observatorio de Salud de la Mujer, Dirección General de la Agencia de Calidad–y Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación– Instituto de Salud Carlos III” (Spain) .


  • Discrimination
  • Gender
  • Health outcomes
  • Social Class
  • Social epidemiology
  • Southern Europe

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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