Blacks more exposed to family deaths than Whites

| Updated: Jan 25, 2017 00:54 IST

Washington D.C. (USA) Jan 24. (ANI): According to a new study, African-Americans are more likely to lose family members when compared to White family members, because of more number of racial disparities in exposure and timing of family member deaths. The study suggests, the Black Americans are more likely to experience more family deaths throughout their lives. The researchers, examined racial disparities in exposure and timing of family member deaths to uncover an underappreciated layer of racial inequality. "The potentially substantial damage to surviving family members is a largely overlooked area of racial disadvantage. By calling attention to this heightened vulnerability of black Americans, our findings underscore the need to address the potential impact of more frequent and earlier exposure to family member deaths in the process of cumulative disadvantage," said Debra Umberson. The study is published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Umberson and her colleagues used national representative datasets of more than 42,000 people. They compared the non-Hispanic black and the non-Hispanic white Americans on their exposure to death of biological parents, children, siblings and spouses. "If losing a family member is a disadvantage in the present in ways that disrupt the future, racial disparities in these losses over the life course is a tangible manifestation of racial inequality that needs to be systematically documented," she said. The study also showed that Black Americans saw more number of family member deaths overall than whites. By the age of 30, they were twice likely to see a death of more than two or more family members and 90 percent more likely to experience the deaths of 4 or more family members by the age of 65. "This is the first population-based documentation of earlier and repeated bereavement experiences for Black Americans. Death of family members is highly likely to disrupt and strain other family relationships as well as the formation, duration and quality of relationships across the life course, further contributing to a broad range of adverse life outcomes including poor health and lower life expectancy," Umberson said.(ANI)