Differences in use of health services by children according to race. Relative importance of cultural and system-related factors.
Black children make substantially less use of health services than do their white counterparts, despite their demonstrably poorer health status. This relationship is true regardless of income. Various authors have suggested that such differences are due to system-related barriers to access to care by black children. Alternatively, others have noted that blacks have cultural patterns related to health and illness, and these culturally determined beliefs and behaviors may account for the observed differences. The present study compared use of health services by black and white children within a system of care that has sought to decrease barriers to access to care by black children. Within this system, black and white children used health services in a similar fashion, suggesting that system-related factors that assure equity of access to health services may be more important than client-related cultural factors, or that these cultural factors may be overcome.
Orr, ST; Miller, CA; James, SA
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