Assessing the role of socioeconomic status and discrimination exposure for racial disparities in inflammation

Adolfo G. Cuevas, Evan Goler, Claudia J. Guetta, Robert F. Krueger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Socioeconomic status (SES) and discrimination have been implicated as social determinants of health and health disparities. Yet, very little research has been done to assess their contributing role in Black-White disparities in inflammation. Using data from the Midlife in the United States (2004–2006), we conducted Oaxaca-Blinder decomposition analysis to quantify the extent to which three indicators of SES (i.e., education, household income, and employment status) and three forms of discrimination exposures (i.e., everyday, lifetime, and workplace discrimination) explained Black-White differences in inflammation. Education, particularly having a college degree or more, explained 16.88% of the differences between Blacks and Whites. There was no evidence that household income and employment status explained Black-White inflammation differences. Lifetime discrimination significantly explained 18.18% of Black-White difference in inflammation burden. There was no evidence that everyday and workplace discrimination explained Black-White difference in inflammation burden. Together, the predictors explained 44.16% of inflammation differences between Black and White participants. Education and lifetime exposure to discrimination may play a role in inflammation disparities. Further research is needed to examine other dimensions of SES (e.g., wealth) and discrimination (e.g., racial segregation) that are associated with health to better understand the contributions of these key social determinants of Black-White inflammation disparities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)333-337
Number of pages5
JournalBrain, Behavior, and Immunity
StatePublished - May 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The MIDUS study is supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Research Network, National Institute on Aging (P01-AG020166), and the National institute on Aging (U19-AG051426). R.F.K. is supported by the US National Institutes of Health, NIH (R01AG053217, U19AG051426).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Elsevier Inc.


  • Discrimination
  • Disparities
  • Inflammation
  • Socioeconomic status

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't


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