Background: The older Hispanic population of the U.S. is growing at a tremendous rate. While ethnic-related risk and complications of diabetes are widely-acknowledged for older Hispanics, less is known about how health related quality of life is affected in this population.
Methods: Cross-sectional study assessing differences in health related quality of life between older Mexican Americans with and without diabetes. Participants (n = 619) from the Hispanic Established Population for the Epidemiological Study of the Elderly were interviewed in their homes. The primary measure was the Medical Outcomes Study Short Form (SF-36).
Results: The sample was 59.6% female with a mean age of 78.3 (SD = 5.2) years. 31.2% (n = 193) of the participants were identified with diabetes. Individuals with diabetes had significantly (F = 19.35, p < .001) lower scores on the Physical Composite scale (mean = 37.50, SD = 12.69) of the SF-36 compared to persons without diabetes (mean = 43.04, SD = 12.22). There was no significant difference between persons with and without diabetes on the Mental Composite scale of the SF-36.
Conclusion: Diabetes was associated with lower health related quality of life in older Mexican Americans. The physical components of health related quality of life uniformly differentiated those with diabetes from those without, whereas mental component scores were equivocal.