Racial disparities in health have long been one of the primary foci of health inequity research in the United States, yet the use of theoretical frameworks outside of biological determinism has generally been minimal within this literature. Only recently has epidemiology begun to incorporate Intersectionality and other social theories in the study of racial health inequities. Even still, the majority of this research base neglects to engage deeply the theoretical complexity that such frameworks demand, often leaving unanswered the important question of whether and why any observed race effects vary across other social group categories. The limited body of epidemiologic work grounded in Intersectionality Theory indicates that race can be further divided into meaningfully disparate categories with important implications for accurately assessing health and health disparities. Yet, Intersectionality Theory, as it is frequently applied, is only one lens with which to appraise disparate health outcomes at these social junctures. This chapter provides an overview of current evidence for racial differences in health, which vary across gender, building support for the necessity of wholistic identity approaches that move beyond current understandings of Intersectionality Theory.
Part of the book: Quality of Life