Cardiovascular disease (CVD) rates differ markedly by minority status, with younger Blacks having some of the highest CVD mortality rates in the United States. A major objective of this study was to assess whether socioeconomic position moderates the effects of race or minority status on CVD mortality.
The sample included 443 Black and 21,182 White men, and 415 Black and 24,929 White women, 45 years and older, who died of CVD from 1992-1998, and who had lived in the Twin Cities 5-county area. Using individual and neighborhood level measures of socioeconomic position, we hypothesized that socioeconomic position would moderate the effects of race on CVD mortality. Test hypotheses were analyzed using Poisson regression analysis.
Socioeconomic position moderated the effects of race on CVD mortality among older men, but not in older women. Older Black men who lived in more impoverished neighborhoods had significantly and disproportionately higher CVD mortality rates than did older White men living in more impoverished neighborhoods; this was not the case among older Black and White men living in less impoverished neighborhoods. Race was independently related to CVD mortality among younger men and women, with younger Black men and women having significantly higher CVD mortality rates than younger White men and women. The Black-White rate for Black women was twice that of White women.
Socioeconomic position as measured by neighborhood poverty can moderate the effects of race on CVD mortality in older Black and White men. This may not have been as apparent had socioeconomic position not been treated as a major variable of interest, and measured at multiple levels.