Associations between self-rated mental health and psychiatric disorders among older adults: Do racial/ethnic differences exist?

Giyeon Kim, Jamie Decoster, David A. Chiriboga, Yuri Jang, Rebecca S. Allen, Patricia Parmelee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


Obective: This study examined racial/ethnic differences in the association between self-rated mental health (SRMH) and psychiatric disorders among community-dwelling older adults in the United States. Design: Cross-sectional analyses of nationally representative data from the Collaborative Psychiatric Epidemiology Surveys (2001-2003). Setting: In-person household interviews. Participants: Older adults aged 60 and older (N = 1,840), including non-Hispanic Whites (N = 351), Blacks (N = 826), Hispanics (N = 406), and Asians (N = 257). Measurements: SRMH was measured with a single item, "How would you rate your own mental health?" Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition (DSM-IV), diagnoses for mood and anxiety disorders were measured with the World Health Organization's World Mental Health version of the Composite International Diagnostic Interview. Results: Results from logistic regression analyses showed significant main effects of both SRMH and race/ethnicity on the presence of mood and anxiety disorders: people who have poor SRMH and are non-Hispanic Whites were more likely to have mood and anxiety disorders. There were also significant interaction effects between SRMH and race/ethnicity, such that the relation of SRMH with diagnoses of psychiatric disorders was strongest in non-Hispanic Whites. Conclusions: Racial/ethnic variations were found in the relationship between self-perception of mental health and DSM-IV psychiatric disorders. The findings suggest the need to develop race/ethnicity-specific strategies to screen psychiatric disorders in diverse elderly populations. Future studies are needed to investigate possible reasons for the racial/ethnic group differences.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)416-422
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2011


  • anxiety disorder
  • mood disorder
  • older adults
  • racial/ ethnic disparities
  • Self-rated mental health (SRMH)


Dive into the research topics of 'Associations between self-rated mental health and psychiatric disorders among older adults: Do racial/ethnic differences exist?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this