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Type: Journal article
Title: The impact of interpersonal racism on oral health related quality of life among Indigenous South Australians: a cross-sectional study
Author: Ali, A.
Rumbold, A.R.
Kapellas, K.
Lassi, Z.S.
Hedges, J.
Jamieson, L.
Citation: BMC Oral Health, 2021; 21(1):46-1-46-11
Publisher: Springer Nature
Issue Date: 2021
ISSN: 1472-6831
Statement of
Anna Ali, Alice R. Rumbold, Kostas Kapellas, Zohra S. Lassi, Joanne Hedges and Lisa Jamieson
Abstract: Background: Interpersonal racism has had a profound impact on Indigenous populations globally, manifesting as negative experiences and discrimination at an individual, institutional and systemic level. Interpersonal racism has been shown to negatively influence a range of health outcomes but has received limited attention in the context of oral health. The aim of this paper was to examine the effects of experiences of interpersonal racism on oral healthrelated quality of life (OHRQoL) among Indigenous South Australians. Methods: Data were sourced from a large convenience sample of Indigenous South Australian adults between February 2018 and January 2019. Questionnaires were used to collect data on sociodemographic characteristics, cultural values, utilization of dental services, and other related factors. OHRQoL was captured using the Oral Health Impact Profile (OHIP-14) questionnaire. We defined the dependent variable ’poor OHRQoL’ as the presence of one or more OHIP-14 items rated as ‘very often’ or ‘fairly often’. Experiences of racism were recorded using the Measure of Indigenous Racism Experiences instrument. Interpersonal racism was classified into two categories (‘no racism’ vs ‘any racism in ≥ 1 setting’) and three categories (’no racism’, ’low racism’ (experienced in 1–3 settings), and ’high racism’ (experienced in 4–9 settings)). Logistic regression was used to examine associations between interpersonal racism, covariates and OHRQoL, adjusting for potential confounding related to socioeconomic factors and access to dental services. Results: Data were available from 885 participants (88.7% of the total cohort). Overall, 52.1% reported experiencing any interpersonal racism in the previous 12 months, approximately one-third (31.6%) were classified as experiencing low racism, and one-fifth (20.5%) experienced high racism. Poor OHRQoL was reported by half the participants (50.2%). Relative to no experiences of racism in the previous 12 months, those who experienced any racism (≥ 1 setting) were significantly more likely to report poor OHRQoL (Odds Ratio (OR): 1.43; 95% Confidence Interval (CI): 1.08–1.92), after adjusting for age, education level, possession of an income-tested health care card, car ownership, self-reported oral health status, timing of and reason for last dental visit, not going to a dentist because of cost, and having no family support. This was particularly seen among females, where, relative to males, the odds of having poor OHRQoL among females experiencing racism were 1.74 times higher (95% CI: 1.07–2.81). Conclusion: Our findings indicate that the experience of interpersonal racism has a negative impact on OHRQoL among Indigenous Australians. The association persisted after adjusting for potential confounding factors. Identifying this link adds weight to the importance of addressing OHRQoL among South Australian’s Indigenous population by implementing culturally-sensitive strategies to address interpersonal racism.
Keywords: Oral health related quality of life; racism; Indigenous Australians; Aboriginals; Torres Strait Islanders
Rights: © The Author(s) 2021. Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated in a credit line to the data.
DOI: 10.1186/s12903-021-01399-1
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