Advertisement

Self-Rated Health Across Race, Ethnicity, and Immigration Status for US Adolescents and Young Adults

      Abstract

      Purpose

      Health disparities research seeks to understand and eliminate differences in health based on social status. Self-rated health is often used to document health disparities across racial/ethnic and immigrant groups, yet its validity for such comparative research has not been established. To be useful in disparities research, self-rated health must measure the same construct in all groups, that is, a given level of self-rated health should reflect the same level of mental and physical health in each group. This study asks, Is the relationship between self-rated health and four indicators of health status—body mass index, chronic conditions, functional limitations, and depressive symptoms—similar for adolescents and young adults of different races/ethnicities and immigrant generations?

      Methods

      Ordinary least squares regression was used to examine associations of self-rated health with the four indicators of health status both cross-sectionally and longitudinally using four waves of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health.

      Results

      Health indicators explained similar amounts of variance in self-rated health for all racial/ethnic and immigrant generation groups. The cross-sectional association between the health indicators and self-rated health did not vary across groups. The longitudinal association between depressive symptoms and chronic conditions and self-rated health also did not differ across groups. However, an increase in body mass index was associated more negatively with later self-rated health for Asians than for whites or blacks.

      Conclusions

      Self-rated health is valid for disparities research in large, population-based surveys of US adolescents and young adults. In many of these surveys self-rated health is the only measure of health.

      Keywords

      To read this article in full you will need to make a payment

      Purchase one-time access:

      Academic & Personal: 24 hour online accessCorporate R&D Professionals: 24 hour online access
      One-time access price info
      • For academic or personal research use, select 'Academic and Personal'
      • For corporate R&D use, select 'Corporate R&D Professionals'

      Subscribe:

      Subscribe to Journal of Adolescent Health
      Already a print subscriber? Claim online access
      Already an online subscriber? Sign in
      Institutional Access: Sign in to ScienceDirect

      References

        • Braveman P.
        Health disparities and health equity: Concepts and measurement.
        Annu Rev Public Health. 2006; 27: 167-194
        • Dowling Root E.
        • Humphrey J.L.
        Neighborhood racial composition and trajectories of child self-rated health: An application of longitudinal propensity scores.
        Soc Sci Med. 2014; 120: 31-39
        • Goodman E.
        • Huang B.
        • Schafer-Kalkhoff T.
        • Adler N.E.
        Perceived socioeconomic status: A new type of identity that influences adolescents' self-rated health.
        J Adolesc Health. 2007; 41: 479-487
        • Chen D.
        • Yang T.C.
        The pathways from perceived discrimination to self-rated health: An investigation of the roles of distrust, social capital, and health behaviors.
        Soc Sci Med. 2014; 104: 64-73
        • Idler E.L.
        • Benyamini Y.
        Self-rated health and mortality: A review of twenty-seven community studies.
        J Health Soc Behav. 1997; 38: 21-37
        • Boardman J.D.
        Self-rated health among U.S. adolescents.
        J Adolesc Health. 2006; 38: 401-408
        • Fosse N.E.
        • Haas S.A.
        Validity and stability of self-reported health among adolescents in a longitudinal, nationally representative survey.
        Pediatrics. 2009; 123: e496-e501
        • Manor O.
        • Matthews S.
        • Power C.
        Self-rated health and limiting longstanding illness: Inter-relationships with morbidity in early adulthood.
        Int J Epidemiol. 2001; 30: 600-607
        • Vingilis E.R.
        • Wade T.J.
        • Seeley J.S.
        Predictors of adolescent self-rated health: Analysis of the National Population Health Survey.
        Can J Public Health. 2002; 93: 193-197
        • Idler E.L.
        • Russell L.B.
        • Davis D.
        Survival, functional limitations, and self-rated health in the NHANES I Epidemiologic Follow-up Study, 1992.
        Am J Epidemiol. 2000; 152: 874-883
        • Benyamini Y.
        Why does self-rated health predict mortality? An update on current knowledge and a research agenda for psychologists.
        Psychol Health. 2011; 26: 1407-1413
        • Singh-Manoux A.
        • Martikainen P.
        • Ferrie J.
        • et al.
        What does self rated health measure? Results from the British Whitehall II and the French Gazel cohort studies.
        J Epidemiol Community Health. 2006; 60: 364-372
        • Christian L.M.
        • Glaser R.
        • Porter K.
        • et al.
        Poorer self-rated health is associated with elevated inflammatory markers among older adults.
        Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2011; 36: 1495-1504
        • Power C.
        • Matthews S.
        • Manor O.
        Inequalities in self-rated health: Explanations from different stages of life.
        The Lancet. 1998; 351: 1009-1013
        • Benjamins M.R.
        • Hirschman J.
        • Hirschtick J.
        • Whitman S.
        Exploring differences in self-rated health among Blacks, Whites, Mexicans, and Puerto Ricans.
        Ethn Health. 2012; 17: 463-476
        • Finch B.K.
        • Hummer R.A.
        • Reindl M.
        • Vega W.A.
        Validity of self-rated health among Latino(a)s.
        Am J Epidemiol. 2002; 155: 755-759
        • Todorova I.L.G.
        • Tucker K.L.
        • Jimenez M.P.
        • et al.
        Determinants of self-rated health and the role of acculturation: Implications for health inequalities.
        Ethn Health. 2013; 18: 563-585
        • Chandola Y.
        • Jenkinson C.
        Validating self-rated health in different ethnic groups.
        Ethn Health. 2000; 5: 151-159
        • McGee D.L.
        • Liao Y.
        • Cao G.
        • Cooper R.S.
        Self-reported health status and mortality in a multiethnic US cohort.
        Am J Epidemiol. 1999; 149: 41-46
      1. Landrine H, Corral I, Hall MB, et al. Self-rated health, objective health, and racial discrimination among African-Americans: Explaining inconsistent findings and testing health pessimism. J Health Psychol Prepublished April 22, 2015.

        • Boardman J.D.
        Health pessimism among black and white adults: The role of interpersonal and institutional maltreatment.
        Soc Sci Med. 2004; 59: 2523-2533
        • Bzostek S.
        • Goldman N.
        • Pebley A.
        Why do Hispanics in the USA report poor health?.
        Soc Sci Med. 2007; 65: 990-1003
        • Wilkinson A.V.
        • Hernández-Valero M.A.
        • Etzel C.J.
        • et al.
        Self-rated health among adult women of Mexican origin.
        Hisp J Behav Sci. 2006; 28: 127-142
        • Seo S.
        • Chung S.
        • Shumway M.
        How good is “very good”? Translation effect in the racial/ethnic variation in self-rated health status.
        Qual Life Res. 2014; 23: 593-600
        • Viruell-Fuentes E.A.
        • Morenoff J.D.
        • Williams D.R.
        • House J.S.
        Language of interview, self-rated health, and the other Latino health puzzle.
        Am J Public Health. 2011; 101: 1306-1313
        • Harris K.M.
        The national longitudinal study of adolescent to adult health (Add health), waves I & II, 1994-1996; wave III, 2001-2002; wave IV, 2007-2009 [machine-readable data file and documentation].
        Carolina Population Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC2009
        • Harris K.M.
        • Halpern C.T.
        • Whitsel E.
        • et al.
        The national longitudinal study of adolescent to adult Health: Research design.
        2009 (Available at:) (Accessed October 25, 2014)
      2. United States Census Bureau. Foreign born: About. Census.gov. 2013. Available at: https://www.census.gov/topics/population/foreign-born/about.html. Accessed November 28, 2014.

        • Walsemann K.M.
        • Bell B.A.
        • Goosby B.J.
        Effect of school racial composition on trajectories of depressive symptoms from adolescence through early adulthood.
        Race Soc Probl. 2011; 3: 131-145
        • U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
        • Centers for Disease Control
        About adult BMI. Div Nutr Phys Act Obes.
        Centers for Disease Control, Atlanta, GA2015 (Available at:) (Accessed July 10, 2015)
        • Olkin I.
        • Finn J.D.
        Correlations redux.
        Quant Methods Psychol. 1995; 118: 155-164
        • Cohen J.
        • Cohen P.
        • West S.G.
        • Aiken L.S.
        Applied multiple regression/correlation analysis for the behavioral sciences.
        3rd edition. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Publishers, Mahwah, NJ2003
        • Vidmar S.
        • Carlin J.
        • Hesketh K.
        Standardizing anthropometric measures in children and adolescents with new functions for egen.
        Stata J. 2004; 4: 50-55
        • White I.R.
        • Royston P.
        • Wood A.M.
        Multiple imputation using chained equations: Issues and guidance for practice.
        Stat Med. 2011; 30: 377-399
        • Parent M.C.
        Handling item-level missing data: Simpler is just as good.
        Couns Psychol. 2013; 41: 568-600
        • Chen P.
        • Chantala K.
        Guidelines for analyzing Add Health data.
        2014 (Available at:) (Accessed February 17, 2015)
        • Landrine H.
        • Corral I.
        Advancing research on racial-ethnic health disparities: Improving measurement equivalence in studies with diverse samples.
        Front Public Health. 2014; 2: 1-22
        • WHO expert consultation
        Appropriate body-mass index for Asian populations and its implications for policy and intervention strategies.
        Lancet. 2004; 363: 157-163
        • Bratter J.L.
        • Gorman B.K.
        Does multiracial matter? A study of racial disparities in self-rated health.
        Demography. 2011; 48: 127-152