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Access to Health Care and Religion among Young American Men

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Author(s): R. Frank Gillum | Nicole Jarrett | Thomas O. Obisesan

Journal: International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
ISSN 1660-4601

Volume: 6;
Issue: 12;
Start page: 3225;
Date: 2009;
Original page

Keywords: access to care | prevention | hispanics | blacks

ABSTRACT
In order to elucidate cultural correlates of utilization of primary health services by young adult men, we investigated religion in which one was raised and service utilization. Using data from a national survey we tested the hypothesis that religion raised predicts access to and utilization of a regular medical care provider, examinations, HIV and other STD testing and counseling at ages 18–44 years in men born between 1958 and 1984. We also hypothesized that religion raised would be more predictive of utilization for Hispanic Americans and non-Hispanic Black Americans than for non-Hispanic White Americans. The study included a national sample of 4276 men aged 18–44 years. Descriptive and multivariate statistics were used to assess the hypotheses using data on religion raised and responses to 14 items assessing health care access and utilization. Compared to those raised in no religion, those raised mainline Protestant were more likely (p < 0.01) to report a usual source of care (67% vs. 79%), health insurance coverage (66% vs. 80%) and physical examination (43% vs. 48%). Religion raised was not associated with testicular exams, STD counseling or HIV testing. In multivariate analyses controlling for confounders, significant associations of religion raised with insurance coverage, a physician as usual source of care and physical examination remained which varied by race/ethnicity. In conclusion, although religion is a core aspect of culture that deserves further study as a possible determinant of health care utilization, we were not able to document any consistent pattern of significant association even in a population with high rates of religious participation.
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