The relative contributions of race/ethnicity, socioeconomic status, health, and social relationships to life satisfaction in the United States

Steven D Barger, Carrie J. Donoho, Heidi A Wayment

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

78 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Purpose: To evaluate racial/ethnic disparities in life satisfaction and the relative contributions of socioeconomic status (SES; education, income, employment status, wealth), health, and social relationships (social ties, emotional support) to well-being within and across racial/ethnic groups. Methods: In two cross-sectional, representative samples of U.S. adults (the 2001 National Health Interview Survey and the 2007 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System; combined n > 350,000), we compared life satisfaction across Whites, Hispanics, and Blacks. We also evaluated the extent to which SES, health, and social relationships 'explained' racial/ethnic group differences and compared the magnitude of variation explained by life satisfaction determinants across and within these groups. Results: Relative to Whites, both Blacks and Hispanics were less likely to be very satisfied. Blacks were somewhat more likely to report being dissatisfied. These differences were reduced or eliminated with adjustment for SES, health, and social relationships. Together, SES and health explained 12-15% of the variation in life satisfaction, whereas social relationships explained an additional 10-12% of the variance. Conclusions: Racial/ethnic life satisfaction disparities exist for Blacks and Hispanics, and these differences are largest when comparing those reporting being 'satisfied' to 'very satisfied' versus 'dissatisfied' to 'satisfied.' SES, health, and social relationships were consistently associated with life satisfaction, with emotional support having the strongest association with life satisfaction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)179-189
Number of pages11
JournalQuality of Life Research
Volume18
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2009

Fingerprint

Social Class
Health
Hispanic Americans
Ethnic Groups
Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System
Health Surveys
Interviews
Education

Keywords

  • Blacks
  • Health status disparities
  • Hispanics
  • Quality of life
  • Social support
  • Socioeconomic status

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

Cite this

@article{3927b109e8424e4ba45351390277f058,
title = "The relative contributions of race/ethnicity, socioeconomic status, health, and social relationships to life satisfaction in the United States",
abstract = "Purpose: To evaluate racial/ethnic disparities in life satisfaction and the relative contributions of socioeconomic status (SES; education, income, employment status, wealth), health, and social relationships (social ties, emotional support) to well-being within and across racial/ethnic groups. Methods: In two cross-sectional, representative samples of U.S. adults (the 2001 National Health Interview Survey and the 2007 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System; combined n > 350,000), we compared life satisfaction across Whites, Hispanics, and Blacks. We also evaluated the extent to which SES, health, and social relationships 'explained' racial/ethnic group differences and compared the magnitude of variation explained by life satisfaction determinants across and within these groups. Results: Relative to Whites, both Blacks and Hispanics were less likely to be very satisfied. Blacks were somewhat more likely to report being dissatisfied. These differences were reduced or eliminated with adjustment for SES, health, and social relationships. Together, SES and health explained 12-15{\%} of the variation in life satisfaction, whereas social relationships explained an additional 10-12{\%} of the variance. Conclusions: Racial/ethnic life satisfaction disparities exist for Blacks and Hispanics, and these differences are largest when comparing those reporting being 'satisfied' to 'very satisfied' versus 'dissatisfied' to 'satisfied.' SES, health, and social relationships were consistently associated with life satisfaction, with emotional support having the strongest association with life satisfaction.",
keywords = "Blacks, Health status disparities, Hispanics, Quality of life, Social support, Socioeconomic status",
author = "Barger, {Steven D} and Donoho, {Carrie J.} and Wayment, {Heidi A}",
year = "2009",
month = "3",
doi = "10.1007/s11136-008-9426-2",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "18",
pages = "179--189",
journal = "Quality of Life Research",
issn = "0962-9343",
publisher = "Springer Netherlands",
number = "2",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - The relative contributions of race/ethnicity, socioeconomic status, health, and social relationships to life satisfaction in the United States

AU - Barger, Steven D

AU - Donoho, Carrie J.

AU - Wayment, Heidi A

PY - 2009/3

Y1 - 2009/3

N2 - Purpose: To evaluate racial/ethnic disparities in life satisfaction and the relative contributions of socioeconomic status (SES; education, income, employment status, wealth), health, and social relationships (social ties, emotional support) to well-being within and across racial/ethnic groups. Methods: In two cross-sectional, representative samples of U.S. adults (the 2001 National Health Interview Survey and the 2007 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System; combined n > 350,000), we compared life satisfaction across Whites, Hispanics, and Blacks. We also evaluated the extent to which SES, health, and social relationships 'explained' racial/ethnic group differences and compared the magnitude of variation explained by life satisfaction determinants across and within these groups. Results: Relative to Whites, both Blacks and Hispanics were less likely to be very satisfied. Blacks were somewhat more likely to report being dissatisfied. These differences were reduced or eliminated with adjustment for SES, health, and social relationships. Together, SES and health explained 12-15% of the variation in life satisfaction, whereas social relationships explained an additional 10-12% of the variance. Conclusions: Racial/ethnic life satisfaction disparities exist for Blacks and Hispanics, and these differences are largest when comparing those reporting being 'satisfied' to 'very satisfied' versus 'dissatisfied' to 'satisfied.' SES, health, and social relationships were consistently associated with life satisfaction, with emotional support having the strongest association with life satisfaction.

AB - Purpose: To evaluate racial/ethnic disparities in life satisfaction and the relative contributions of socioeconomic status (SES; education, income, employment status, wealth), health, and social relationships (social ties, emotional support) to well-being within and across racial/ethnic groups. Methods: In two cross-sectional, representative samples of U.S. adults (the 2001 National Health Interview Survey and the 2007 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System; combined n > 350,000), we compared life satisfaction across Whites, Hispanics, and Blacks. We also evaluated the extent to which SES, health, and social relationships 'explained' racial/ethnic group differences and compared the magnitude of variation explained by life satisfaction determinants across and within these groups. Results: Relative to Whites, both Blacks and Hispanics were less likely to be very satisfied. Blacks were somewhat more likely to report being dissatisfied. These differences were reduced or eliminated with adjustment for SES, health, and social relationships. Together, SES and health explained 12-15% of the variation in life satisfaction, whereas social relationships explained an additional 10-12% of the variance. Conclusions: Racial/ethnic life satisfaction disparities exist for Blacks and Hispanics, and these differences are largest when comparing those reporting being 'satisfied' to 'very satisfied' versus 'dissatisfied' to 'satisfied.' SES, health, and social relationships were consistently associated with life satisfaction, with emotional support having the strongest association with life satisfaction.

KW - Blacks

KW - Health status disparities

KW - Hispanics

KW - Quality of life

KW - Social support

KW - Socioeconomic status

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=59849117316&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=59849117316&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1007/s11136-008-9426-2

DO - 10.1007/s11136-008-9426-2

M3 - Article

C2 - 19082871

AN - SCOPUS:59849117316

VL - 18

SP - 179

EP - 189

JO - Quality of Life Research

JF - Quality of Life Research

SN - 0962-9343

IS - 2

ER -