Perceived stress and self-rated health of Haitian and African Americans with and without Type 2 diabetes

J Res Med Sci. 2013 Mar;18(3):198-204.


Background: Blacks have a higher incidence of diabetes and its related complications. Self-rated health (SRH) and perceived stress indicators are associated with chronic diseases. The aim of this study was to examine the associations between SRH, perceived stress and diabetes status among two Black ethnicities.

Materials and methods: The cross-sectional study included 258 Haitian Americans and 249 African Americans with (n = 240) and without type 2 diabetes (n = 267) (n = 507). Recruitment was performed by community outreach.

Results: Haitian-Americans were less likely to report 'fair to poor' health as compared to African Americans [OR = 0.58 (95% CI: 0.35, 0.95), P = 0.032]; yet, Haitian Americans had greater perceived stress than African Americans (P = 0.002). Having diabetes was associated with 'fair to poor' SRH [OR = 3.14 (95% CI: 2.09, 4.72), P < 0.001] but not perceived stress (P = 0.072). Haitian-Americans (P = 0.023), females (P = 0.003) and those participants having 'poor or fair' SRH (P < 0.001) were positively associated with perceived stress (Nagelkerke R(2) = 0.151).

Conclusion: Perceived stress associated with 'poor or fair' SRH suggests that screening for perceived stress should be considered part of routine medical care; albeit, further studies are required to confirm our results. The findings support the need for treatment plans that are patient-centered and culturally relevant and that address psychosocial issues.

Keywords: African American; Haitian American; diabetes type 2; minority health; stress.