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The Association between Perceived Discrimination and Underutilization of Needed Medical and Mental Health Care in a Multi-Ethnic Community Sample


This study examines the association between perceived discrimination and underutilization of needed medical and mental health care, in a representative, multi-ethnic community sample. Data were derived from a cross sectional survey of 10,098 White, U.S.-born Black, African-born Black, American Indian, Hispanic, and Southeast Asian adults in Hennepin County, Minnesota. Even after controlling for socio-demographic characteristics, health care access, and physical and mental health, perceived discrimination was associated with underutilization of medical care among Whites, U.S.-born Blacks, and American Indians and was associated with underutilization of mental health care among Whites, U.S.-born Blacks, Southeast Asians, and American Indians. Correlates of different types of discrimination (major, everyday, health care) on underutilization of care varied among ethnic groups. The higher prevalence of discrimination among racial and ethnic minorities may contribute to their underutilization of health care services. Future research is needed to understand the impacts of different types of discrimination on different groups.

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