Background: HRQoL is an important outcome to guide and promote healthcare. Clinical and socioeconomic factors may influence HRQoL according to ethnicity.
Methodology: A multiethnic cross-sectional national cohort (N = 7198) of the Singapore general population consisting of Chinese (N = 4873), Malay (N = 1167) and Indian (N = 1158) adults were evaluated using measures of HRQoL (SF-36 version 2), family functioning, health behaviours and clinical/laboratory assessments. Multiple regression analyses were performed to identify determinants of physical and mental HRQoL in the overall population and their potential differential effects by ethnicity. No a priori hypotheses were formulated so all interaction effects were explored.
Principal Findings: HRQoL levels differed between ethnic groups. Chinese respondents had higher physical HRQoL (PCS) than Indian and Malay participants (p,0.001) whereas mental HRQoL (MCS) was higher in Malay relative to Chinese participants (p,0.001). Regressions models explained 17.1% and 14.6% of variance in PCS and MCS respectively with comorbid burden, income and employment being associated with lower HRQoL. Age and family were associated only with MCS. The effects of gender, stroke and musculoskeletal conditions on PCS varied by ethnicity, suggesting non-uniform patterns of association for Chinese, Malay and Indian individuals.
Conclusions: Differences in HRQoL levels and determinants of HRQoL among ethnic groups underscore the need to better or differentially target population segments to promote well-being. More work is needed to explore HRQoL and wellness in relation to ethnicity.