Race, Gender, and Socioeconomic Variations in C-Reactive Protein Using the Health and Retirement Study

Heather R. Farmer, Linda A. Wray, Steven A. Haas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Objectives: To clarify the relationships among race, gender, and socioeconomic status (SES) with C-reactive protein (CRP). Method: The present study analyzed data from 6,521 Black and White respondents aged 51 and older in the Health and Retirement Study, a nationally representative sample of midlife and older adults, to address two aims. We sought to (i) assess the independent associations between race, gender, and SES with CRP concentrations and (ii) test whether race, gender, and SES interacted to produce unequal CRP concentrations cross-sectionally and over a 4-year follow-up. Results: The results demonstrated that race, gender, and SES were each independently associated with baseline CRP, but only SES was associated with CRP at follow-up. Furthermore, race, gender, and education interacted to produce differential CRP levels at baseline. There were incremental benefits for each additional level of education for White men and women, but the relationship between education and CRP was more complicated for Black men and women. Compared with other race/gender groups with less than high school, Black women had the highest and Black men had the lowest levels of CRP. There were no apparent benefits to CRP for Black women with college compared with Black women with high school, while Black men with less than high school and college had similar concentrations of CRP. Discussion: In clarifying the complexity inherent in CRP disparities, this work contributes to a greater understanding of the biological mechanisms underlying racial disparities in leading causes of morbidity and mortality in the United States.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)583-595
Number of pages13
JournalJournals of Gerontology - Series B Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health(social science)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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