Investigation of the Disparity Between New York City and National Prevalence of Nonspecific Psychological Distress Among Hispanics
Published Date:Feb 09 2012
Source:Prev Chronic Dis. 2012; 9.
In New York City, the age-adjusted prevalence of nonspecific psychological distress (NPD) among Hispanics is twice that of non-Hispanic whites; nationally, there is little Hispanic-white disparity. We aimed to explain the pattern of disparity in New York City.
Data came from the 2006 National Health Interview Survey and 2006 Community Health Survey in New York City. Respondents with scores higher than 12 on the K6, a brief scale used to screen for mental health disorders, were defined as having NPD. Multivariate analyses controlled for Hispanic ancestry, socioeconomic status (education, employment, and income), nativity, language of interview, and health characteristics.
In New York City, the disparity between Hispanics and whites was fully explained after accounting for the disproportionate concentration of low socioeconomic status among Hispanics (odds ratio for NPD, 0.81; 95% confidence interval, 0.60-1.11). These factors also partially accounted for differences between Hispanics in New York City and the United States, but the prevalence of NPD overall in New York City remained elevated relative to the United States.
Elevated NPD prevalence among New York City Hispanics was primarily attributable to large disparities in socioeconomic status; differences between New York City and the United States remained but were not specific to Hispanics. Interventions in New York City aimed at addressing racial/ethnic disparities in health may overlap with those addressing socioeconomic inequalities. Further study into the higher overall prevalence of NPD in New York City will be necessary to inform the design and targeting of interventions.
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