Background. Few studies have explored the variance in
individual symptoms by race in older
Methods. Data were analysed from the Duke site of the Established
Populations for Epidemiologic
Studies of the Elderly (EPESE), a community sample of persons 65 years-of-age
and older, 54% of
whom were African-Americans. Of the 3401 subjects with adequate data on
symptomatology, confirmatory factor analysis and LISREL were first used
to confirm the presence
of the factor structure previously reported for the CES-D. Next, bivariate
analysis was performed
to determine the prevalence of individual symptoms by race. Finally, LISREL
performed to control for potential confounding variables.
Results. When bivariate comparisons of specific symptoms by
race were explored, African-Americans
were more likely to report less hope about the future, poor appetite, difficulty
concentrating, requiring more effort for usual activities, less talking,
feeling people were unfriendly,
feeling disliked by others and being more ‘bothered’ than usual.
When LISREL analyses were
applied to these data (controlling for education, income, cognitive impairment,
problems and disability and other factors) racial differences in somatic
complaints and life
satisfaction disappeared, yet differences in interpersonal relations persisted.
Conclusions. This study confirms earlier findings of minimal
overall differences in symptom
frequency between African-American and non-African-American community-dwelling
in controlled studies.