New Evidence of Skin Color Bias and Health Outcomes Using Sibling Difference Models

Thomas Laidley , New York University (NYU)
Benjamin Domingue, University of Colorado Boulder
Kathleen Mullan Harris, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Piyapat Sinsub, Princeton University
Dalton Conley, New York University (NYU)

We use data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health (Add Health) to determine whether darker skin tone predicts hypertension among siblings using a family fixed effects analytic strategy. We find that even after accounting for common family background and home environment, body mass index, age, sex, and outdoor activity, darker skin color significantly predicts hypertension incidence among siblings. In a supplementary analysis using newly released genetic data from Add Health, we also find no evidence that our results are biased by genetic pleiotropy, whereby differences in alleles among siblings relate to coloration and cardiovascular health simultaneously. These results add to the extant evidence on color biases that are distinct from those based on race alone, and that will likely only increase in importance in an increasingly multiracial environment as ethnoracial categorization becomes more complex.

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 Presented in Session 5. Health & Mortality 1