Disputes of Self-reported Chronic Disease Over Time: The Role of Race, Ethnicity, Nativity, and Language of Interview

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BACKGROUND: Respondents in longitudinal health interview surveys may inconsistently report their chronic diseases across interview waves. Racial/ethnic minority adults have an increased burden of chronic diseases and may dispute chronic disease reports more frequently.

OBJECTIVE: We evaluated the longitudinal association between race/ethnicity, nativity, and language of interview with disputing previously reported chronic diseases.

METHODS: We performed secondary data analysis of nationally representative longitudinal data (Health and Retirement Study, 1998-2010) of adults 51 years or older (n=23,593). We estimated multilevel mixed-effects logistic models of disputes of previously reported chronic disease (hypertension, heart disease, lung disease, diabetes, cancer, stroke, arthritis).

RESULTS: Approximately 22% of Health and Retirement Study respondents disputed prior chronic disease self-reports across the entire study period; 21% of non-Latino white, 20.5% of non-Latino black, and 28% of Latino respondents disputed. In subgroup comparisons of model-predicted odds using postestimation commands, Latinos interviewed in Spanish have 34% greater odds of disputing compared with non-Latino whites interviewed in English and 35% greater odds of dispute relative to non-Latino blacks interviewed in English.

CONCLUSIONS: The odds of disputing a prior chronic disease report were substantially higher for Latinos who were interviewed in Spanish compared with non-Latino white or black counterparts interviewed in English, even after accounting for other sociodemographic factors, cognitive declines, and time-in-sample considerations. Our findings point toward leveraging of multiple sources of data to triangulate information on chronic disease status as well as investigating potential mechanisms underlying the higher probability of dispute among Spanish-speaking Latino respondents.


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