Racial/Ethnic Differences in Quality of Life for People Living with Arthritis Who See a Primary Care Physician

The Open Rheumatology Journal 25 Aug 2011 RESEARCH ARTICLE DOI: 10.2174/1874312901105010024



Previous research suggests that insufficient access to health care may contribute to health disparities in arthritis-related outcomes. The purpose of this article is to document whether racial disparities in health status, health-related quality of life (HRQOL), and activity limitations exist for individuals living with arthritis who have access to a primary care physician.


Cross-sectional survey data were collected in 2005 and 2008 from individuals seeking care at 11 family practice clinics in North Carolina. Participants self-reported their arthritis status, health status, physical and mental HRQOL, and activity limitations. Analysis of variance was used to determine whether there were differences in demographic and clinical characteristics of White (n= 405), Black (n = 244), and Latino (n = 100) participants who self-reported arthritis. Linear regressions determined whether race/ethnicity was significantly associated with HRQOL and activity limitations; whereas, logistic regression determined whether the odds of poor health were higher for Black and Latino participants, controlling for age, gender, body mass index, marital status, and number of comorbid conditions.


Over 50% of participants reported fair/poor health status and more than 8 days of poor physical and mental health and 6 days of activity limitations during the past month. Latino participants were more likely to report fair/poor health status and fewer activity limitations than Whites or Blacks, whereas Black participants reported fewer days of poor mental health.


Despite access to a primary care physician, racial/ethnic disparities exist. Future research should explore the underlying reasons for the persistence of these disparities.

Keywords: Arthritis, quality of life, activity limitations, racial disparities..
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