We assessed associations between discrimination and health-related quality of life among black and white men and women in the United States.
We examined data from the National Health Measurement Study, a nationally representative sample of 3,648 adults aged 35–89 in the non-institutionalized US population. These data include self-reported lifetime and everyday discrimination as well as several health utility indexes (EQ-5D, HUI3, and SF-6D). Multiple regression was used to compute mean health utility scores adjusted for age, income, education, and chronic diseases for each race-by-gender subgroup.
Black men and women reported more discrimination than white men and women. Health utility tended to be worse as reported discrimination increased. With a few exceptions, differences between mean health utility scores in the lowest and highest discrimination groups exceeded the 0.03 difference generally considered to be a clinically significant difference.
Persons who experienced discrimination tended to score lower on health utility measures. The study also revealed a complex relationship between experiences of discrimination and race and gender. Because of these differential social and demographic relationships caution is urged when interpreting self-rated health measures in research, clinical, and policy settings.