BACKGROUND: Smoking is associated with impaired health-related quality of life (HRQL) across all populations. Because decline in lung function and risk for COPD are lower in New Mexican Hispanic smokers compared with their non-Hispanic white (NHW) counterparts, the goal of this study was to ascertain whether HRQL differs between these two racial/ethnic groups and determine the factors that contribute to this difference.
METHODS: We compared the score results of the Medical Outcomes Short-Form 36 Health Survey (SF-36) and St. George's Respiratory Questionnaire (SGRQ) in 378 Hispanic subjects and 1,597 NHW subjects enrolled in the Lovelace Smokers' Cohort (LSC) from New Mexico. The associations of race/ethnicity with SGRQ and SF-36 were assessed by using multivariable regression.
RESULTS: Physical functioning (difference, -4.5; P = .0008) but not mental health or role emotional domains of the SF-36 was worse in Hispanic smokers than in their NWH counterparts in multivariable analysis. SGRQ total score and its activity and impact subscores were worse in Hispanic (vs NHW) smokers after adjustment for education level, current smoking, pack-years smoked, BMI, number of comorbidities, and FEV % predicted (difference range, 2.9-5.0; all comparisons, P ≤ .001). Although the difference in the SGRQ activity domain was above the clinically important difference of four units, the total score was not.
CONCLUSIONS: New Mexican Hispanic smokers have clinically relevant, lower HRQL than their NHW counterparts. A perception of diminished physical functioning and impairment in daily life activities contribute to the poorer HRQL among Hispanic subjects.