To document disparities in health status, activity limitations, and disability in work and housework between Latinos and non-Latino whites with arthritis. We examined whether sociodemographic factors (age, income, and education) account for the disparities between the ethnic groups, and whether comorbid conditions, disease duration, health care utilization, and functional abilities predict health status, activity limitations, and work and housework disability after controlling for sociodemographic variables.
We analyzed data from the Condition file of the 1994 National Health Interview Survey on Disability, Phase I.
The risk of worse health, activity limitations, and work and housework disability was >2 times greater among Latinos compared with non-Latino whites. In the regression models accounting for potential confounders, Latino ethnicity remained significantly associated with poorer health status, but not activity limitations or disability in work or housekeeping. Of the socioeconomic status variables, education had a significant protective effect on work disability and health status. Comorbid conditions and health care utilization increased the likelihood of worse health, activity limitations, and work disability. Limitations in physical function were associated with poorer health and disability in work and homemaking.
Social status differences between Latinos and non-Latinos may account for disparities in activity limitations and disability in work and housework. Education may provide various health benefits, including access to a range of occupations that do not require physical demands. The findings help to address the great gap in knowledge concerning factors related to the health and disability status of Latinos with arthritis.