Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Applied Economics and Statistics

Committee Member

Dr. David Willis, Committee Chair

Committee Member

Dr. Khoa Truong

Committee Member

Dr. Patrick Gerard


The purpose of this research is to evaluate the treatment of concussions for South Carolina school-aged children with an intent of discovering potential disparities in treatment between socioeconomic groups. The results are generated from the entire population of emergency department visits by children aged 5-19 in South Carolina emergency departments, the internal validity of the results is equivalent to the external validity for the population specified. The results found within the dataset constitute the effects of these variables on all children that visited an emergency department in South Carolina with a concussion as a primary or secondary diagnosis between the years 2012 and 2013. Results indicate that statistically significant differences in the treatment outcome of a concussion exist, though not consistently between outcome metrics. Contrary to what was expected, no statistically significant difference in total charges (or the total cost for all procedures performed during a single emergency department visit) incurred by the patient or type and number of procedures performed existed among racial groups, all else equal. The signs of these variables may indicate a greater efficiency of care, which can be associated with higher levels of patient-centered care (Berkakis & Azari, 2011). Because patient-centered care is associated with fewer diagnostic tests and higher overall quality of care, this result runs counter to previous research that shows that minority groups typically receive worse health outcomes than their white counterparts (Stewart et al., 2000). Recognition of potential healthcare disparities in the treatment of concussions has the potential to allow health care providers to implement policy standards aimed at creating an equality of treatment for all individuals. Therefore, using the results obtained by this research will enable policymakers to understand the biases in the existing system and create targeted approaches to addressing them.



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