Search tips
Search criteria 


Logo of hsresearchLink to Publisher's site
Health Serv Res. 1994 August; 29(3): 261–274.
PMCID: PMC1070005

The concept of race in Health Services Research: 1966 to 1990.


OBJECTIVE. This study examined ways in which race/ethnicity has been conceptualized and used in the health services research literature as published in Health Services Research (HSR). DATA SOURCE. All articles published in HSR from its inception in 1966 to 1990. STUDY DESIGN. The analyses were restricted to U.S.-based empirical research on humans or in which human population characteristics are described. This study identifies the terms used for race and/or ethnicity, the frequency with which they occur, and the purposes for which they are utilized. PRINCIPAL FINDINGS. The study documents that race/ethnicity is widely used in the health services literature to stratify or adjust results and to describe the sample or population of the study. Terms used for race are seldom defined and race is frequently employed in a routine and uncritical manner to represent ill-defined social and cultural factors. CONCLUSIONS. Researchers and practitioners must give more careful attention to the conceptualization and measurement of race. An understanding of racial/ethnic differences in patterns of health service utilization will require efforts to catalog and quantify the specific social and cultural factors that are differentially distributed by racial and ethnic status.

Full text

Full text is available as a scanned copy of the original print version. Get a printable copy (PDF file) of the complete article (1.3M), or click on a page image below to browse page by page. Links to PubMed are also available for Selected References.

Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
  • Andersen RM, Giachello AL, Aday LA. Access of Hispanics to health care and cuts in services: a state-of-the-art overview. Public Health Rep. 1986 May-Jun;101(3):238–252. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Anderson JG. Causal model of a health services system. Health Serv Res. 1972 Spring;7(1):23–42. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Bashshur RL, Shannon GW, Metzner CA. Some ecological differentials in the use of medical services. Health Serv Res. 1971 Spring;6(1):61–75. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Blendon RJ, Aiken LH, Freeman HE, Corey CR. Access to medical care for black and white Americans. A matter of continuing concern. JAMA. 1989 Jan 13;261(2):278–281. [PubMed]
  • Brandt AM. Racism and research: the case of the Tuskegee Syphilis Study. Hastings Cent Rep. 1978 Dec;8(6):21–29. [PubMed]
  • Cooper R. A note on the biologic concept of race and its application in epidemiologic research. Am Heart J. 1984 Sep;108(3 Pt 2):715–722. [PubMed]
  • Cooper R, David R. The biological concept of race and its application to public health and epidemiology. J Health Polit Policy Law. 1986 Spring;11(1):97–116. [PubMed]
  • Davies AR, Ware JE, Jr, Brook RH, Peterson JR, Newhouse JP. Consumer acceptance of prepaid and fee-for-service medical care: results from a randomized controlled trial. Health Serv Res. 1986 Aug;21(3):429–452. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Dressler WW. Social class, skin color, and arterial blood pressure in two societies. Ethn Dis. 1991 Winter;1(1):60–77. [PubMed]
  • Fleming GV. Hospital structure and consumer satisfaction. Health Serv Res. 1981 Spring;16(1):43–63. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Funkhouser SW, Moser DK. Is health care racist? ANS Adv Nurs Sci. 1990 Jan;12(2):47–55. [PubMed]
  • Grazier KL, Richardson WC, Martin DP, Diehr P. Factors affecting choice of health care plans. Health Serv Res. 1986 Feb;20(6 Pt 1):659–682. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Hahn RA. The state of federal health statistics on racial and ethnic groups. JAMA. 1992 Jan 8;267(2):268–271. [PubMed]
  • Hahn RA, Mulinare J, Teutsch SM. Inconsistencies in coding of race and ethnicity between birth and death in US infants. A new look at infant mortality, 1983 through 1985. JAMA. 1992 Jan 8;267(2):259–263. [PubMed]
  • Hetherington RW, Hopkins CE. Symptom sensitivity: its social and cultural correlates. Health Serv Res. 1969 Spring;4(1):63–75. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Holloway JJ, Medendorp SV, Bromberg J. Risk factors for early readmission among veterans. Health Serv Res. 1990 Apr;25(1 Pt 2):213–237. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Horgan CM. The demand for ambulatory mental health services from specialty providers. Health Serv Res. 1986 Jun;21(2 Pt 2):291–319. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Jette AM, Cummings KM, Brock BM, Phelps MC, Naessens J. The structure and reliability of health belief indices. Health Serv Res. 1981 Spring;16(1):81–98. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Jones CP, LaVeist TA, Lillie-Blanton M. "Race" in the epidemiologic literature: an examination of the American Journal of Epidemiology, 1921-1990. Am J Epidemiol. 1991 Nov 15;134(10):1079–1084. [PubMed]
  • Keeler EB, Sloss EM, Brook RH, Operskalski BH, Goldberg GA, Newhouse JP. Effects of cost sharing on physiological health, health practices, and worry. Health Serv Res. 1987 Aug;22(3):279–306. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Klag MJ, Whelton PK, Coresh J, Grim CE, Kuller LH. The association of skin color with blood pressure in US blacks with low socioeconomic status. JAMA. 1991 Feb 6;265(5):599–602. [PubMed]
  • Mick SS, Worobey JL. The future role of foreign medical graduates in U.S. medical practice: projections into the 1990s. Health Serv Res. 1986 Apr;21(1):85–106. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Miller SM. Race in the health of America. Milbank Q. 1987;65 (Suppl 2):500–531. [PubMed]
  • Moore JR., Jr Accuracy of a health interview survey in measuring chronic illness prevalence. Health Serv Res. 1975 Summer;10(2):162–167. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Osborne NG, Feit MD. The use of race in medical research. JAMA. 1992 Jan 8;267(2):275–279. [PubMed]
  • Robinson JC. Racial inequality and the probability of occupation-related injury or illness. Milbank Mem Fund Q Health Soc. 1984 Fall;62(4):567–590. [PubMed]
  • Sawyer DO. Assessing access constraints on system equity: source of care differences in the distribution of medical services. Health Serv Res. 1982 Spring;17(1):27–44. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Starfield B, Budetti PP. Child health status and risk factors. Health Serv Res. 1985 Feb;19(6 Pt 2):817–886. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Treviño FM. Standardized terminology for hispanic populations. Am J Public Health. 1987 Jan;77(1):69–72. [PubMed]
  • Wenneker MB, Epstein AM. Racial inequalities in the use of procedures for patients with ischemic heart disease in Massachusetts. JAMA. 1989 Jan 13;261(2):253–257. [PubMed]
  • Wilkinson DY, King G. Conceptual and methodological issues in the use of race as a variable: policy implications. Milbank Q. 1987;65 (Suppl 1):56–71. [PubMed]
  • Williams DR, Lavizzo-Mourey R, Warren RC. The concept of race and health status in America. Public Health Rep. 1994 Jan-Feb;109(1):26–41. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Wolf RS. A social systems model of nursing home use. Health Serv Res. 1978 Summer;13(2):111–128. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Yankauer A. Hispanic/Latino--what's in a name? Am J Public Health. 1987 Jan;77(1):15–17. [PubMed]
  • Yu ES, Liu WT. US National Health Data on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders: a research agenda for the 1990s. Am J Public Health. 1992 Dec;82(12):1645–1652. [PubMed]

Articles from Health Services Research are provided here courtesy of Health Research & Educational Trust