Perceived Discrimination and Self-Rated Health in Europe: Evidence from the European Social Survey (2010)

Javier Alvarez-Galvez*, Luis Salvador-Carulla

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction:Studies have shown that perceived discrimination has an impact on our physical and mental health. A relevant part of literature has highlighted the influence of discrimination based on race or ethnicity on mental and physical health outcomes. However, the influence of other types of discrimination on health has been understudied. This study is aimed to explore how different types of discrimination are related to our subjective state of health, and so to compare the intensity of these relationships in the European context.Methods:We have performed a multilevel ordered analysis on the fifth wave of the European Social Survey (ESS 2010). This dataset has 52,458 units at individual level that are grouped in 26 European countries. In this study, the dependent variable is self-rated health (SRH) that is analyzed in relationship to ten explanatory variables of perceived discrimination: color or race, nationality, religion, language, ethnic group, age, gender, sexuality, disability and others.Results:The model identifies statistically significant differences in the effect that diverse types of perceived discrimination can generate on the self-rated health of Europeans. Specifically, this study identifies three well-defined types of perceived discrimination that can be related to poor health outcomes: (1) age discrimination; (2) disability discrimination; and (3) sexuality discrimination. In this sense, the effect on self-rated health of perceived discrimination related to aging and disabilities seems to be more relevant than other types of discrimination in the European context with a longer tradition in literature (e.g. ethnic and/or race-based).Conclusion:The present study shows that the relationship between perceived discrimination and health inequities in Europe are not random, but systematically distributed depending on factors such as age, sexuality and disabilities. Therefore the future orientation of EU social policies should aim to reduce the impact of these social determinants on health equity.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere74252
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 5 Sept 2013
Externally publishedYes


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