Exposure to trauma increases the long-term risk of mortality, and experiencing non-fatal physical assault is not an exception. To better understand population heterogeneity in this link, the current study explored Black–White differences in the association between history of non-fatal physical assault and risk of all-cause mortality over a 25-year period in the United States. Data came from the Americans’ Changing Lives (ACL) study that followed 3617 non-institutionalized respondents for up to 25 years. History of non-fatal physical assault at baseline was the predictor. Outcome was time to death due to all-cause mortality during follow-up from baseline (1986) to follow-up (2011). Confounders included gender, age, and baseline socio-economic status (education and income), health behaviors (smoking and drinking), and health status (chronic medical conditions, self-rated health, and body mass index). Race was the moderator. Cox regressions were used for multi-variable analysis. History of non-fatal physical assault at baseline was associated with an increased risk of mortality, above and beyond baseline socioeconomic status, health behaviors, and health status. Race interacted with history of non-fatal physical assault on mortality, suggesting a stronger effect for Whites compared to Blacks. In race-specific models, history of non-fatal physical assault was associated with risk of mortality for Whites but not Blacks. The current study showed that experiencing non-fatal physical assault increases the risk of premature death above and beyond demographics, socioeconomic status, health behaviors, and health status. Experiencing non-fatal physical assault may have a larger effect on premature mortality among Whites than Blacks. Future research is needed on how Blacks and Whites differ in the health consequences of social adversities.
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