Intersectionality and risk for ischemic heart disease in Sweden: Categorical and anti-categorical approaches

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Intersectionality theory can contribute to epidemiology and public health by furthering understanding of power dynamics driving production of health disparities, and increasing knowledge about heterogeneities within, and overlap between, social categories. Drawing on McCall, we relate the first of these potential contributions to categorical intersectionality and the second to anti-categorical intersectionality. Both approaches are used in study of risk of ischemic heart disease (IHD), based on register data on 3.6 million adults residing in Sweden by 2010, followed for three years. Categorical intersectionality is here coupled with between-group differences in average risk calculation, as we use intersectional categorizations while estimating odds ratios through logistic regressions. The anti-categorical approach is operationalized through measurement of discriminatory accuracy (DA), i.e., capacity to accurately categorize individuals with or without a certain outcome, through computation of the area under the curve (AUC). Our results show substantial differences in average risk between intersectional groupings. The DA of social categorizations is found to be low, however, due to outcome variability within and overlap between categories. We argue that measures of DA should be used for proper interpretation of differences in average risk between social (or any other) categories. Tension between average between-group risk and the DA of categorizations, which can be related to categorical and anti-categorical intersectional analyses, should be made explicit and discussed to a larger degree in epidemiology and public health.


External organisations
  • Skåne University Hospital
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)213–222
JournalSocial Science and Medicine
Early online date2017 Jan 24
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Publication categoryResearch

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Shai Mulinari & Anna Bredström


Project: ResearchIndividual research project

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Related activities

Merlo, J. (First/primary/lead supervisor), Mulinari, S. (Second supervisor), Hornborg, A. (Second supervisor)
2017 Nov 27

Activity: Examination and supervisionSupervision of PhD students

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