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      Measurement of socioeconomic status in health disparities research.

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      Journal of the National Medical Association

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          Abstract

          Socioeconomic status (SES) is frequently implicated as a contributor to the disparate health observed among racial/ ethnic minorities, women and elderly populations. Findings from studies that examine the role of SES and health disparities, however, have provided inconsistent results. This is due in part to the: 1) lack of precision and reliability of measures; 2) difficulty with the collection of individual SES data; 3) the dynamic nature of SES over a lifetime; 4) the classification of women, children, retired and unemployed persons; 5) lack of or poor correlation between individual SES measures; and 6) and inaccurate or misleading interpretation of study results. Choosing the best variable or approach for measuring SES is dependent in part on its relevance to the population and outcomes under study. Many of the commonly used compositional and contextual SES measures are limited in terms of their usefulness for examining the effect of SES on outcomes in analyses of data that include population subgroups known to experience health disparities. This article describes SES measures, strengths and limitations of specific approaches and methodological issues related to the analysis and interpretation of studies that examine SES and health disparities.

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          Author and article information

          Journal
          J Natl Med Assoc
          Journal of the National Medical Association
          0027-9684
          0027-9684
          Sep 2007
          : 99
          : 9
          Affiliations
          [1 ] Applied Research Program, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, MD 20892-7344, USA. shaversv@mail.nih.gov
          Article
          10.13016/avw3-9cvx
          2575866
          17913111
          8f82d98d-89f0-47ac-b1e5-57eae064b4e7
          History

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