Health Disparities

Marginalized and medically underserved minority populations experience higher than average rates of illness, impairment, and death. These health and longevity disadvantages are referred to as health disparities, which are a function of social injustices. While the health risks and health problems experienced by minority individuals may be modifiable through conventional health psychology practices, the long‐term elimination of health disparities is dependent on social change. Key conceptualizations for health disparities include contextual exposures, a life‐course approach, and the consequences of discrimination, intersectionality, and residential segregation. Several historical and current examples illustrate the complex realities facing marginalized communities and serve as a call to action for health psychology scholars.

Ward‐Peterson, M., & Wagner, E. F. (2020). Health Disparities. In Paul, R.H., Salminen, L E., Heaps, J., & Cohen, L. M. (Eds), The Wiley Encyclopedia of Health Psychology, (pp. 51-59). Wiley Press.