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The Wealth–Health Relationship by Race/Ethnicity: Evidence from a Longitudinal Perspective

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Sociological Forum

Published online on

Abstract

["Sociological Forum, EarlyView. ", "\nUsing a longitudinal dataset, the Americans’ Changing Lives study, we tested whether and how the wealth–health relationship varies across race/ethnicity groups. By applying hybrid panel models to the data, we first found that individual wealth explained the variation in both mental and physical health (i.e., depressive symptoms and functional health limitations), not only between individuals but also within an individual, net of other socioeconomic status measures and covariates. Second, the impact of change in wealth on mental and physical health was moderated by race/ethnicity in different ways. The beneficial effect of an increase in wealth was more profound among blacks than whites for depressive symptoms, and the favorable impact of an increase in wealth was weaker among blacks than whites for functional health limitations. Our study provides a robust causal inference about the wealth–health association and demonstrates that wealth–health associations vary by racial/ethnic group, especially between whites and blacks.\n"]