Self-reported and measured hypertension among older US- and foreign-born adults

Kellee White, Mauricio Avendaño, Benjamin D. Capistrant, J. Robin Moon, Sze Y. Liu, M. Maria Glymour

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Self-reported hypertension is frequently used for health surveillance. However, little is known about the validity of self-reported hypertension among older Americans by nativity status. This study compared self-reported and measured hypertension among older black, white, and Hispanic Americans by nativity using the 2006 and 2008 Health and Retirement Study (n = 13,451). Sensitivity and specificity of self-reported hypertension were calculated using the Seventh report of the Joint National Committee on Prevention, Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Pressure definition. Sensitivity was high among older blacks (88.9%), whites (82.8%), and Hispanics (84.0%), and both foreign-born (83.2%) and US-born (84.0%). Specificity was above 90% for both US-born and foreign-born, but higher for whites (92.8%) than blacks (86.0%). Despite the potential vulnerability of older foreign-born Americans, self-reported hypertension may be considered a reasonable estimate of hypertension status. Future research should confirm these findings in samples with a larger and more ethnically diverse foreignborn population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)721-726
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Immigrant and Minority Health
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2012
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgments The authors gratefully acknowledge financial support from W.K. Kellogg Foundation Kellogg Health Scholars Program (P0117943), the American Heart Association grants 09PRE2080078 and 10SDG2640243, and the Milton Fund of Harvard University.


  • Health and Retirement Study
  • Nativity
  • Race/ethnicity
  • Self-reported hypertension
  • Validity


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