Journal of Community Health

, Volume 37, Issue 1, pp 96–104 | Cite as

Health Related Quality of Life in a Rural Area with Low Racial/Ethnic Density

  • Kelly K. Bonnar
  • Maureen McCarthy
Original Paper


The purpose of this study was to compare the self-reported quality of life of racial/ethnic minorities and Caucasians living in a rural, northern New York county, where 94% of the population is Caucasian. Participants completed a 79-item survey online and in-person assessing health status, health-related quality of life, perceptions of health information, and health care access/use. Frequencies, Chi-Square, and ANOVA were used to analyze the results. A total of 1,039 surveys were completed. Racial/ethnic minorities earned significantly less income, F (1, 1031) = 29.306, P = .000, relied more on public health insurance, X 2 (7, 1033) = 47.827, P = .000, were significantly less likely to see a doctor because of the cost, F(1,990) = 17.042, P = .000, and reported using health-related services significantly less often when compared to Caucasians, F(1, 1032) = 17.051, P = .000. In terms of quality of life, while there were no significant differences in self-reported physical health, racial/ethnic minorities were more likely to feel sad/blue/depressed, F(1, 1031) = 7.193, P = .011 and worried/tense/anxious, F(1, 1031) = 5.550, P = .040. Findings from this study offer some initial evidence that, while perceived health status is generally good, rural racial/ethnic minorities residing in predominantly Caucasian rural areas may experience more mental health problems that are risk factors for chronic diseases. This coupled with lower use of health care services increases the need for culturally competent health programs and services for this population.


Rural health Health disparities Racial/ethnic minorities Health related quality of life Ethnic density 



This study was funded by the Walker Fellowship Program, SUNY Potsdam Research Foundation.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Education and Professional Studies, Department of Community HealthState University of New York at PotsdamPotsdamUSA
  2. 2.Department of Community HealthState University of New York at PotsdamPotsdamUSA
  3. 3.PotsdamUSA

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