Poverty and InequalitySexual and Reproductive HealthFamily, Maternal & Child HealthMethodology

Black-white differences in self-reported disability outcomes in the U.S.: early childhood to older adulthood

TitleBlack-white differences in self-reported disability outcomes in the U.S.: early childhood to older adulthood
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2011
AuthorsNuru-Jeter, AM, J, Thorpe R., J, Fuller-Thomson, E
JournalPublic Health Rep
Date PublishedNov-Dec
ISBN Number0033-3549 (Print) 0033-3549 (Linking)
Accession Number22043099
KeywordsActivities of Daily Living, Adolescent, Adult, African Americans/ statistics & numerical data, Age Factors, Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Child, Child, Preschool, Disabled Persons/classification/ statistics & numerical data, European Continental Ancestry Group/ statistics & numerical data, Female, Health Status Disparities, Hearing Disorders/ethnology, Humans, Learning Disorders/ethnology, Male, Memory Disorders/ethnology, Middle Aged, Sex Factors, United States/epidemiology, Vision Disorders/ethnology, Young Adult

OBJECTIVE: We examined black-white differences in activities of daily living (ADLs), functional limitations (FLs), vision/hearing/sensory impairment, and memory/learning problems in a large, nationally representative sample of community-dwelling and institutionalized people across the lifespan. METHODS: Data are from the 2006 American Community Survey (n=2,288,800). We included data on non-Hispanic black respondents (125,985 males and 145,780 females) and non-Hispanic white respondents (977,792 males and 1,039,243 females) >/=5 years of age. We used logistic regression to examine the black-white odds for each disability outcome. The overall response rate was 97.5%. RESULTS: For FLs, ADL limitations, and memory/learning problems, black people experienced higher odds of disability across the adult lifespan compared with white people. Black-white differences narrowed in older age. For vision/hearing problems, a black-white crossover was found in older age (>/=85 years), where odds of vision/hearing problems were lower among black people than among white people. For all disability outcomes, black-white differences peaked in midlife (50-69 years of age), with black people having approximately 1.5 to two times the odds of disabilities as their white peers. CONCLUSIONS: The study findings suggest the need to address black-white disparities across a range of disability outcomes throughout the lifespan. Future work identifying the factors accounting for this pattern of disparities will help inform the development of appropriate prevention strategies.