Variation and quality of self-report health data. Asians and Pacific Islanders compared with other ethnic groups

Med Care. 1995 Nov;33(11):1120-31. doi: 10.1097/00005650-199511000-00005.


Variation in the sociodemographic, system, and disease characteristics of Asians and Pacific Islanders compared with other ethnic groups and the quality of standard self-report measures of health and functioning by ethnic groups were examined. Secondary analysis of self-report data from the Medical Outcomes Study, an observational study of adult outpatients who received care in either prepaid or fee-for-service plans, was used to compare 527 Asians and Pacific Islanders to patients in other ethnic groups (16,989 whites, 2,533 African Americans, 1,009 Latinos, and 446 others). These patients all completed a screening questionnaire after visits with a Medical Outcomes Study clinician. Asians and Pacific Islanders were similar to African Americans and Latinos on most sociodemographic and system characteristics, disease status, and risk factors. Ethnicity was a significant predictor of differences in self-reported health. As a group, Asians and Pacific Islanders had better health or health of equal status compared with whites, but were less satisfied and perceived less sharing in the doctor-patient relationship compared with other ethnic groups. However, results suggest that data from standard functioning measures for Asians should be interpreted with caution and that more work is needed to understand better the social and cultural influences on the health of Asians and Pacific Islanders.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Asia / ethnology
  • Black People
  • Black or African American
  • Demography
  • Ethnicity*
  • Female
  • Health Policy
  • Health Services Research
  • Health Status*
  • Hispanic or Latino
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Outcome and Process Assessment, Health Care
  • Pacific Islands / ethnology
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Physician-Patient Relations
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • White People