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Geographically-based discrimination is a social determinant of mental health in a deprived or stigmatized area in Japan: A cross-sectional study


  • Tabuchi, Takahiro
  • Fukuhara, Hiroyuki
  • Iso, Hiroyasu


Perceived discrimination has been shown to be associated with health. However, it is uncertain whether discrimination based on geographical place of residence (geographically-based discrimination), such as Buraku or Nishinari discrimination in Japan, is associated with health. We conducted a cross-sectional study (response rate = 52.3%) from February to March 2009 in a Buraku district of Nishinari ward in Osaka city, one of the most deprived areas in Japan. We implemented sex-stratified and education-stratified multivariate regression models to examine the association between geographically-based discrimination and two mental health outcomes (depressive symptoms and diagnosis of mental illness) with adjustment for age, socioeconomic status, social relationships and lifestyle factors. A total of 1994 persons aged 25–79 years (928 men and 1066 women) living in the district were analyzed. In the fully-adjusted model, perceived geographically-based discrimination was significantly associated with depressive symptoms and diagnosis of mental illness. It was more strongly associated among men or highly educated people than among women or among less educated people. The effect of geographically-based discrimination on mental health is independent of socioeconomic status, social relationship and lifestyle factors. Geographically-based discrimination may be one of the social determinants of mental health.

Suggested Citation

  • Tabuchi, Takahiro & Fukuhara, Hiroyuki & Iso, Hiroyasu, 2012. "Geographically-based discrimination is a social determinant of mental health in a deprived or stigmatized area in Japan: A cross-sectional study," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 75(6), pages 1015-1021.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:75:y:2012:i:6:p:1015-1021
    DOI: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2012.04.030

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Mair, Christina & Diez Roux, Ana V. & Osypuk, Theresa L. & Rapp, Stephen R. & Seeman, Teresa & Watson, Karol E., 2010. "Is neighborhood racial/ethnic composition associated with depressive symptoms? The multi-ethnic study of atherosclerosis," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 71(3), pages 541-550, August.
    2. repec:aph:ajpbhl:10.2105/ajph.2006.091892_4 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Chae, David H. & Lincoln, Karen D. & Adler, Nancy E. & Syme, S. Leonard, 2010. "Do experiences of racial discrimination predict cardiovascular disease among African American men? The moderating role of internalized negative racial group attitudes," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 71(6), pages 1182-1188, September.
    4. Bell, Janice F. & Zimmerman, Frederick J. & Almgren, Gunnar R. & Mayer, Jonathan D. & Huebner, Colleen E., 2006. "Birth outcomes among urban African-American women: A multilevel analysis of the role of racial residential segregation," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 63(12), pages 3030-3045, December.
    5. Kagamimori, Sadanobu & Gaina, Alexandru & Nasermoaddeli, Ali, 2009. "Socioeconomic status and health in the Japanese population," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 68(12), pages 2152-2160, June.
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