Black-white differences in health-related quality of life among older adults

Kimberly A. Skarupski, Carlos F.Mendes De Leon, Julia L. Bienias, Paul A. Scherr, Matthew M. Zack, David G. Moriarty, Denis A. Evans

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Very little information exists on racial differences in quality of life among older adults. In this paper, we examine black-white differences in health-related quality of life (HRQOL) and identify factors that may account for these differences. The participants were 5,986 community-dwelling persons age 65+ (62% black at baseline) from the Chicago Health and Aging Project. Poor HRQOL was defined as having 14 or more self-reported physically or mentally unhealthy days over the past 30 days. A higher proportion of blacks (11.0%) than whites (9.7%) reported poor HRQOL. After adjusting for age and sex, blacks had increased odds of reporting poor HRQOL compared with whites (odds ratio [OR] = 1.72; 95% CI: 1.50-1.98). The black-white differences in HRQOL tended to increase with age (p < 0.05) and were greater among females (p < 0.05). Lifetime socioeconomic status, summary measures of medical conditions, and cognitive function accounted for most of the black-white difference (OR = 1.06; 95% CI: 0.89-1.27). Our results suggest that racial differences in HRQOL are associated with the combined effects of social disadvantage, poor physical health, and lower cognitive function.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)287-296
Number of pages10
JournalQuality of Life Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Health-related quality of life
  • Older age
  • Quality of life
  • Racial differences

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


Dive into the research topics of 'Black-white differences in health-related quality of life among older adults'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this