Gendered Racial Stratification of Health Trajectories: Integrating Intersectionality and Life Course Perspectives

Tyson Brown, Vanderbilt University
Liana J. Richardson, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Taylor Hargrove, Vanderbilt University
Courtney Thomas, Vanderbilt University

Racial/ethnic and gender differences in adult health are well-documented. However, previous studies have tended to examine the consequences of racial/ethnic and gender inequality separately or assume that they have additive effects. Furthermore, little is known about how race/ethnicity, gender and age intersect to shape long-term patterns of intra-individual stability and change in health. This study aims to fill these gaps by applying intersectionality and life course perspectives, and estimating multilevel models of panel data from the Health and Retirement Study, to examine how the simultaneous processes of racial/ethnic and gender inequality and aging impact self-rated health trajectories in mid- to late-life. Results suggest that the health consequences of racial/ethnic and gender inequality are multiplicative, consistent with an intersectionality hypothesis. Moreover, we find that health disparities tend to decline or remain stable with age, providing support for both the aging-as-leveler and persistent inequality hypotheses.

  See extended abstract

Presented in Session 200: Intersections of Race/Ethnicity and Gender