Inequality in Health Outcomes in India: The Role of Caste and Religion

Vani Borooah

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

    Abstract

    The “social gradient to health” - whereby people belonging to groups higher up the social ladder had better health outcomes than those belonging to groups further down - is essentially a Western construct; there has been very little investigation into whether, in developing countries also, people’s state of health is dependent on their social status. The purpose of this paper is to evaluate the relative strengths of economic and social status in determining the health status of persons in India. In other words, even after controlling for non-community factors, did the fact that Indians belonged to different social groups, encapsulating different degrees of social status, exercise a significant influence on the state of their health? The existence of a social group effect would suggest that there was a “social gradient” to health outcomes in India. Furthermore, there was the possibility that the “social gradient” existed with respect to some outcomes but not to others. In investigating this, the paper addresses, in the Indian context, an issue which les at the heart of social epidemiology: estimating the relative strengths of individual and social factors in determining health outcomes.
    LanguageEnglish
    Title of host publicationBlocked by Caste: Economic Discrimination in Modern India
    EditorsSukhdeo Thorat, Katherine Newman
    Pages179-207
    Publication statusPublished - 2010

    Fingerprint

    caste
    Religion
    India
    health
    social status
    epidemiology
    health status
    social factors
    Group
    developing country
    human being
    economics

    Keywords

    • Health outcomes
    • Caste
    • Religion
    • India

    Cite this

    Borooah, V. (2010). Inequality in Health Outcomes in India: The Role of Caste and Religion. In S. Thorat, & K. Newman (Eds.), Blocked by Caste: Economic Discrimination in Modern India (pp. 179-207)
    Borooah, Vani. / Inequality in Health Outcomes in India: The Role of Caste and Religion. Blocked by Caste: Economic Discrimination in Modern India. editor / Sukhdeo Thorat ; Katherine Newman. 2010. pp. 179-207
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    abstract = "The “social gradient to health” - whereby people belonging to groups higher up the social ladder had better health outcomes than those belonging to groups further down - is essentially a Western construct; there has been very little investigation into whether, in developing countries also, people’s state of health is dependent on their social status. The purpose of this paper is to evaluate the relative strengths of economic and social status in determining the health status of persons in India. In other words, even after controlling for non-community factors, did the fact that Indians belonged to different social groups, encapsulating different degrees of social status, exercise a significant influence on the state of their health? The existence of a social group effect would suggest that there was a “social gradient” to health outcomes in India. Furthermore, there was the possibility that the “social gradient” existed with respect to some outcomes but not to others. In investigating this, the paper addresses, in the Indian context, an issue which les at the heart of social epidemiology: estimating the relative strengths of individual and social factors in determining health outcomes.",
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    note = "Reference text: BIRDI, KAMALJIT, WARR, PETER, and OSWALD, ANDREW, 1995. “Age Differences in Three Components of Employee Well-Being,” Applied Psychology, vol. 44, pp. 345-73. BLACK, DOUGLAS, MORRIS, JERRY, SMITH, CYRIL, TOWNSEND, PETER. (1980), Inequalities in Health: A Report of a Research Working Group, London: Department of Health and Social Security. BOROOAH, VANI K., DUBEY, AMARESH, and IYER, SRIYA, 2007. “The Effectiveness of Jobs Reservation: Caste, Religion, and Economic Status in India”, Development & Change, vol. 38, pp. 423-455.. BRUNNER, ERIC and MARMOT, MICHAEL, 1999. “Social Organisation, Stress and Health”, in M. Marmot and R. Wilkinson (eds), The Social Determinants of Health, Oxford University Press: New York, pp. 17-43. EPSTEIN, HELEN, 1998. “Life and Death on the Social ladder”, The New York Review of Books, vol. XLV, pp. 26-30. GRIFFIN, JOAN. M., FUHRER, REBECCA, STANSFELD, STEPHEN A., and MARMOT, MICHAEL, 2002. “The Importance of Low Control at Work and Home on Depression and Anxiety: Do These Effects Vary by Gender and Social Class?”, Social Science and Medicine, vol. 54, pp. 783-98. GUHA, RAMCHANDRA, 2007. “Adivasis, Naxalities, and Indian Democracy”, Economic and Political Weekly, vol. XLII, pp. 3305-3312. KARASEK, ROBERT, and MARMOT, MICHAEL, 1996. “Refining Social Class: Psychosocial Job Factors”, paper presented at The Fourth International Congress of Behavioral Medicine, Washington, D.C., March 13-16. MARMOT, MICHAEL, 1986. “Does Stress Cause Heart Attacks”, Postgraduate Medical Journal, vol. 62, pp. 683-686.MARMOT, MICHAEL, 2000, “Multilevel Approaches to Understanding Social Determinants”, in L. Berkman and I. Kawachi (eds), Social Epidemiology, Oxford University Press: New York, pp. 349-367. MARMOT, MICHAEL, 2004. Status Syndrome: How Our Position on the Social Gradient Affects Longevity and Health, London: Bloomsbury Publishing. SEN, GITA, IYER ADITI, and GEORGE, ASHA, 2007. “Systematic Hierarchies and Systemic Failures: Gender and Health Inequalities in Koppal District”, Economic and Political Weekly, vol. XLII, pp. 682-690. SENGUPTA, JHUMUR and SARKAR, DEBNARAYAN, 2007. “Discrimination in Ethnically Fragmented Localities”, Economic and Political Weekly, vol. XLII, pp. 3313-3322. TENDULKAR, SURESH. (2007), “National Sample Surveys” in K. Basu (ed), The Oxford Companion to Economics in India, New Delhi: Oxford University Press (p. 367-370). WILKINSON, RICHARD G. and MARMOT, MICHAEL, 1998. Social Determinants of Health: The Solid Facts, World Health Organisation: Copenhagen.",
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    Borooah, V 2010, Inequality in Health Outcomes in India: The Role of Caste and Religion. in S Thorat & K Newman (eds), Blocked by Caste: Economic Discrimination in Modern India. pp. 179-207.

    Inequality in Health Outcomes in India: The Role of Caste and Religion. / Borooah, Vani.

    Blocked by Caste: Economic Discrimination in Modern India. ed. / Sukhdeo Thorat; Katherine Newman. 2010. p. 179-207.

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

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    AU - Borooah, Vani

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    AB - The “social gradient to health” - whereby people belonging to groups higher up the social ladder had better health outcomes than those belonging to groups further down - is essentially a Western construct; there has been very little investigation into whether, in developing countries also, people’s state of health is dependent on their social status. The purpose of this paper is to evaluate the relative strengths of economic and social status in determining the health status of persons in India. In other words, even after controlling for non-community factors, did the fact that Indians belonged to different social groups, encapsulating different degrees of social status, exercise a significant influence on the state of their health? The existence of a social group effect would suggest that there was a “social gradient” to health outcomes in India. Furthermore, there was the possibility that the “social gradient” existed with respect to some outcomes but not to others. In investigating this, the paper addresses, in the Indian context, an issue which les at the heart of social epidemiology: estimating the relative strengths of individual and social factors in determining health outcomes.

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    Borooah V. Inequality in Health Outcomes in India: The Role of Caste and Religion. In Thorat S, Newman K, editors, Blocked by Caste: Economic Discrimination in Modern India. 2010. p. 179-207