Does the experience of discrimination affect health? A cross-sectional study of Korean elders

Heeran Chun, Minah Kang, Sung Il Cho, Kyunghee Jung-Choi, Soong Nang Jang, Young Ho Khang

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8 Scopus citations


This study was conducted among 992 Koreans aged 60 to 89 to examine the effects of perceived discrimination on the health of an ethnically homogenous older population. Perceived discrimination was measured with a self-report instrument. Health outcomes included depressive symptoms, poor self-rated health, and chronic diseases. Of the elderly Koreans surveyed, 23.5% reported having experienced discrimination based on education, age, birthplace, birth order, or gender. Among women, 23.1% reported experiencing gender discrimination, compared to 0.9% among men. Men reported education and age discrimination most frequently - 9.4% and 7.7%, respectively. Those who reported experiencing any discrimination were 2.19 times more likely to report depressive symptoms (95% confidence interval = 1.50-3.22) and 1.40 times more likely to report poor self-rated health (95% confidence interval = 1.02-1.93). The health effects of educational discrimination appeared most prominent. This study supports the positive associations between perceived discrimination and poorer health, particularly mental health, in later life.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)NP2285-NP2295
JournalAsia-Pacific Journal of Public Health
Issue number2
StatePublished - 4 Mar 2015

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  • elder
  • experience of discrimination
  • health
  • social inequality


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