To investigate whether emotional and physical reactions to perceived discrimination are associated with health-related quality of life (HRQOL) among whites and Latinos (by language preference) in Arizona.
A cross-sectional analysis using the Arizona Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (2012–2014) was restricted to non-Hispanic white and Latino (grouped by English- or Spanish-language preference) participants who completed the Reactions to Race optional module (N = 14,623). Four core items from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Healthy Days Measures were included: self-rated health; physically unhealthy, mentally unhealthy; and functionally limited days. Poisson regression models estimated prevalence ratios and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for poor self-rated health. Multinomial logistic models estimated odds ratios and 95% CI for poor mental, physical, and functionally limited days (defined as 14 + more days). Models were adjusted for sociodemographics, health behaviors, and multimorbidity.
Reports of emotional and physical reactions to perceived discrimination were highest among Spanish-language preference Latinos. Both Spanish- and English-language preference Latinos were more likely to report poor self-rated health in comparison to whites. In separate fully adjusted models, physical reactions were positively associated with each HRQOL measure. Emotional reactions were only associated with reporting 14 + mental unhealthy (aOR 3.16; 95% CI 1.82; 5.48) and functionally limited days (aOR 1.93; 95% CI 1.04, 3.58).
Findings from this study suggest that physical and emotional reactions to perceived discrimination can manifest as diminished HRQOL. Consistent collection of population-based measures of perceived discrimination is warranted to track and monitor differential health vulnerability that affect Latinos.