California Health Interview Survey Questions about Discrimination and Health

Principal Investigator:
Salma Shariff-Marco, Ph.D.
Nancy Breen, Ph.D., Benmei Liu, Ph.D., and Gordon Willis, Ph.D. (National Cancer Institute); Gilbert C. Gee, Ph.D., David Grant, Ph.D., Vickie Mays, Ph.D., and Ninez A. Ponce, Ph.D. (University of California, Los Angeles); Bryce B. Reeve, Ph.D. (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill), Margarita Alegria, Ph.D., Nancy Krieger, Ph.D., and David R. Williams, Ph.D. (Harvard University); Timothy P. Johnson, Ph.D. (University of Illinois, Chicago), Hope Landrine, Ph.D. (East Carolina University), David Takeuchi (Boston College)
Funding Source:
National Cancer Institute; NIH Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research
Funding Period:
Study Website:
People who report being discriminated against (for reasons like race, sex, or class) have worse health outcomes.  Although it is important to further study discrimination, it is a difficult concept to capture in research projects.  At present, there is no single valid and reliable way to use telephone surveys to measure racial/ethnic discrimination across populations of different cultures and who speak different languages.  Yet, there is a growing need to be able to monitor discrimination using regular telephone survey health surveillance systems used to monitor other health indicators. Since 2006, this project, involving a multidisciplinary team of researchers, has been developing such questions in the California Health Interview Survey through literature review, cognitive interviews, psychometric analyses, behavior coding, and consultation with a panel of advisors.  They have tested the questions in 12,000 respondents in multiple languages. Having data from these questions will allow us to expand our understanding of discrimination in California’s Latino, Asian American and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander, American Indian and Alaska Native communities.

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