The Effect of Life Satisfaction on Health Care Utilization in Retirement Age Americans: A Latent Transition Analysis

TitleThe Effect of Life Satisfaction on Health Care Utilization in Retirement Age Americans: A Latent Transition Analysis
Publication TypeThesis
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsKouchi, K
Academic DepartmentPsychology
Degree Master of Arts
Number of Pages48
UniversityUniversity of Alabama
Thesis Typephd
ISBN Number9780438888531
Keywords0621:Psychology, Health care utilization, Latent transition analysis, Life Satisfaction, Psychology, Retirement

Retirement is often celebrated as an important milestone in life. It is also a time when health concerns may increase as retirees enter the early stages of old age. The purpose of this study is to determine whether there is evidence for distinct patterns of excessive health care use and life satisfaction in the immediate post-retirement period. The role theory of retirement states that individuals may experience psychological distress during the retirement transition due to the loss of a work identity (Wang, 2007). This psychological vacuum created by the loss of work identity may manifest itself as low life satisfaction. The vacuum may be filled by increased health care utilization among older adults post-retirement. While high life satisfaction has been linked to less health care utilization, there has been no systematic search for subgroups of retirees who show more health care use. (E.S. Kim, Park, Sun, Smith & Peterson, 2014; Gorry, 2015). The present study used a large longitudinal database of older adults, the Health and Retirement Study, to analyze membership in different life satisfaction and health care use trajectories from the pre- to post-retirement measurement waves. A latent transition analysis was utilized to identify classes of retirees that show differences in self-reported life satisfaction and health care use over time and found three distinct trajectories (low down-tick, moderate up-tick, high stable) of life satisfaction and four distinct trajectories (as distinguished by low, moderate, high levels of illness and HCU) of health care use. There was a significant, albeit weak association between one’s membership in a given life satisfaction trajectory and health care use trajectory.


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Citation Key10288