Racial and ethnic differences in mental distress among stroke survivors

Lesli E. Skolarus*, Lynda D. Lisabeth, James F. Burke, Deborah A. Levine, Lewis B. Morgenstern, Linda S. Williams, Paul N. Pfeiffer, Devin L. Brown

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Objective: African Americans, Hispanics and some Asian subgroups have a higher stroke incidence than non-Hispanic Whites (NHW). Additionally, African Americans and Hispanics have worse stroke outcomes than non-Hispanic Whites. Thus, we explored racial and ethnic differences in mental distress, a known risk factor for post-stroke disability. Methods: National Health InterviewSurveydata from 2000-2010 were used to identify 8,324 community dwelling adults with self-reported stroke. Serious mental distress was identified by the Kessler-6 scale. Logistic regression models assessed racial/ethnic associations with serious mental distress after adjusting for demographics, comorbidities, disability, health care utilization and socioeconomic factors. Results: Serious mental distress was identified in 9% of stroke survivors. Hispanics (14%) were more likely to have serious mental distress than African Americans (9%), non-Hispanic Whites (9%) and Asians (8%, P5.02). After adjustment, Hispanics (OR51.06, 95% CI .76-1.48) and Asians (.84, 95% CI .37-1.90) had a similar odds of serious mental distress while African Americans had a lower odds of serious mental distress (OR5.61, 95% CI .48-.78) compared with non-Hispanic Whites. Younger age, low levels of education and insurance were important predictors of serious mental distress among Hispanics. Conclusion: Serious mental distress is highly prevalent among US stroke survivors and is more common in Hispanics than NHWs, African Americans and Asians. Further study of the role of mental distress in ethnic differences in post-stroke disability is warranted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)138-144
Number of pages7
JournalEthnicity and Disease
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2015


  • Ethnicity
  • Mental distress
  • Race
  • Stroke

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology


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