Study designs, measures and indexes used in studying the structural racism as a social determinant of health in high income countries from 2000–2022: evidence from a scoping review

Md Koushik Ahmed, Desiree Scretching, Sandra D. Lane

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Globally, structural racism has been well documented as an important social determinant of health (SODH) resulting in racial inequality related to health. Although studies on structural racism have increased over the years, the selection of appropriate designs, measures, and indexes of measurement that respond to SODH has not been comprehensively documented. Therefore, the lack of evidence seems to exist. This scoping review was conducted to map and summarize global evidence on the use of various designs, measures, and indexes of measurement when studying structural racism as a social determinant of health. Methods: We performed a scoping review of global evidence from 2000 to 2022 published in 5 databases: PubMed, Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL), PsycInfo, Web of Science, ProQuest, and relevant grey literature on structural racism. We conducted a systematic search using keywords and subject headings around 3 concepts. We included peer reviewed original research/review articles which conceived the framework of social determinants of health (SODH) and studied structural racism. Results: Our review identified 1793 bibliographic citations for screening and 54 articles for final review. Articles reported 19 types of study design, 87 measures of exposure and 58 measures of health outcomes related to structural racism. 73 indexes or scales of measurement were used to assess health impacts of structural racism. Majority of articles were primary research (n = 43/54 articles; 79.6%), used quantitative research method (n = 32/54 articles; 59.3%) and predominantly conducted in the United States (n = 46/54 articles; 85.2.6%). Cross-sectional study design was the most used design (n = 17/54 articles; 31.5%) followed by systematic review (n = 7/54 articles; 13.0%) and narrative review (n = 6/54 articles; 11.1%). Housing and residential segregation was the largest cluster of exposure with the highest impact in infant health outcome. Conclusions: Our review found several key gaps and research priorities on structural racism such as lack of longitudinal studies and availability of structural or ecological data, lack of consensus on the use of consolidated appropriate measures, indexes of measurement and appropriate study designs that can capture complex interactions of exposure and outcomes related to structural racism holistically.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number4
JournalInternational Journal for Equity in Health
Volume22
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2023

Keywords

  • Community participatory research approach
  • Exposure
  • Indexes of measurement
  • Outcome
  • Social determinants of health
  • Structural racism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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