Using data from the 2001 NHIS and the 2005–2006 and 2007–2008 NHANES, we examine how self-reporting a previous diagnosis of hypertension among adults aged 65+ differs by race/ethnicity for men and women; we explore the extent to which disparities are driven by group differences in social risk factors, particularly social support and integration; and last, whether these relationships mimic patterns seen for measured hypertension at interview. Findings indicate that rates of ever-diagnosed hypertension in both samples are highest among black seniors and older women and lowest among Mexican-American men, with the gender gap lowest among whites and substantially higher among blacks and Mexican-Americans. However, replication analyses of NHANES models using measured hypertension, instead of a self-report of having ever been diagnosed with hypertension, suggests that reporting bias and measurement error contribute to observed disparities, as racial/ethnic differences in hypertension rates are smaller when measured hypertension is examined, especially among women. Logistic regression models also show that while adjusting for group differences in measures of support and integration mediates some of the disparity in measured hypertension between Mexican-American and white seniors, adjusting for support and integration amplifies black-white disparities in both ever diagnosed and measured hypertension—driven primarily by adjustment for attendance at religious services, which reduces hypertension risk for all older adults but is more commonly reported among black seniors, especially women.
Population Research and Policy Review – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 9, 2011
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