Date of Award

Summer 8-9-2022

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Sociology

First Advisor

Tomeka Davis

Second Advisor

Eric Wright

Third Advisor

Daniel Pasciuti

Abstract

Residential segregation has been theorized to diminish outcomes for the Black middle class. As much of the reasoning provided for poor health among Black Americans has been attributed to socioeconomic status, having higher community levels of SES, Atlanta provides a unique field site for examining other mechanisms that might be driving health disparities among this population. This dissertation provides an analysis of the relationship between the neighborhood characteristic of Black habitus and health outcomes to examine the mechanisms by which structural racism has created and continues to create racially segregated neighborhoods that impact health.

The analyses used the Morehouse-Emory Cardiovascular (MECA) Center for Health Equity dataset, 2010 census tract level data from the Atlanta Regional Committee, and historical redlining data from The Mapping Inequality Project to assess whether residing in a Black Habitus “neighborhood” as defined by census tract, with a high percentage of Black residents and social capital, as operationalized as neighborhood cohesion and neighborliness serves as a protective factor against negative health outcomes for Black Americans.

While this study cannot make any causal inferences, this study shed light on historical redlining and the creation of predominantly Black communities. In addition, this research has expanded the existing literature on Black lived experience and is strengthened by its focus on this population, specifically. In addition, this study also helped elucidate the role of neighborhood and community in health outcomes and experience o

f discrimination. By examining these dynamics, social scientists can begin to address the lasting impacts of historical redlining and work to combat its impact. Additionally, with these findings in mind, health equity initiatives should be community driven and culturally centered to be most effective. This study may lend itself to encouraging further study of the nuances of structural racism and impact on current circumstances for Black people. By garnering a better understanding of Black habitus, researchers, healthcare professionals, and policy influencers can begin to dismantle the structures that have driven marginalization and inequality for Black people.

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