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J Rheumatol. 2008 Sep;35(9):1782-8. Epub 2008 Jul 15.

The role of neighborhood and individual socioeconomic status in outcomes of systemic lupus erythematosus.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, Institute for Health Policy Studies, University of California, San Francisco, CA 94143-0920, USA.



To determine if neighborhood socioeconomic status (SES) is independently related to physical and mental health outcomes in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).


Data derived from the first 3 waves of the Lupus Outcomes Study, a telephone survey of 957 patients with confirmed SLE diagnoses, recruited from clinical and non-clinical sources. Residential addresses were geocoded to U.S. Census block groups. Outcome measures included the Systemic Lupus Activity Questionnaire (SLAQ) score, a self-reported assessment of SLE symptoms; the Medical Outcomes Study Short Form-36 Health Survey physical functioning score; and Center for Epidemiologic Studies-Depression (CES-D) score of > or = 19 points. Multivariate analyses adjusted for race/ethnicity and other demographic and health-related covariates.


After adjustment, lower individual SES, measured by education, household income, or poverty status, was associated with all outcomes. In models that did not include individual SES, low neighborhood SES (> 30% of residents in poverty) was also associated with poor outcomes. After adjustment for individual SES, demographic, and health-related covariates, only CES-D > or = 19 remained associated with neighborhood SES: 47% [95% confidence interval (CI) 38-56%] versus 35% (95% CI 32-37%).


Individual SES is associated with physical and mental health outcomes in persons with SLE. Low neighborhood SES contributes independently to high levels of depressive symptoms. Future research should focus on mechanisms underlying these differences.

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