Self-rated health (SRH) is a commonly used measure in surveys to assess general health status or health-related quality of life. Differences have been detected in how different ethnic groups and nationalities interpret the SRH measure and assess their health. This review summarizes the research conducted on SRH within and between ethnic groups, with a focus on indigenous groups.
A search of published academic literature on SRH and ethnicity, including a comprehensive review of all relevant indigenous research, was conducted using PubMed and summarized.
A wide variety of research on SRH within ethnic groups has been undertaken. SRH typically serves as an outcome measure. Minority respondents generally rated their health worse than the dominant population. Numerous culturally-specific determinants of SRH have been identified. Cross-national and cross-ethnicity comparisons of the associations of SRH have been conducted to assess the validity of SRH. While SRH is a valid measure within a variety of ethnicities, differences in how SRH is assessed by ethnicities have been detected. Research in indigenous groups remains generally under-represented in the SRH literature.
These results suggest that different ethnic groups and nationalities vary in SRH evaluations, interpretation of the SRH measure, and referents employed in rating health. To effectively assess and redress health disparities and establish culturally-relevant and effective health interventions, a greater understanding of SRH is required, particularly among indigenous groups, in which little research has been conducted.
Cites: J Immigr Minor Health. 2008 Apr;10(2):103-1817546500