Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Advance Care Planning: Assessing the Role of Subjective Life Expectancy.

TitleRacial and Ethnic Disparities in Advance Care Planning: Assessing the Role of Subjective Life Expectancy.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2022
AuthorsLou, Y, Carr, D
JournalThe Journals of Gerontology, Series B
ISSN Number1758-5368
KeywordsAdvance care planning, Racial Disparities, Subjective life expectancy

OBJECTIVES: Persistent race disparities in advance care planning (ACP) are troubling, given Black and Hispanic older adults' elevated risk of disease, some dementias, and receipt of care that may not align with their preferences. A potentially important yet underexplored explanation for these disparities is subjective life expectancy (SLE), or beliefs about one's future survival which may impel or impede ACP.

METHODS: Data are from the Health and Retirement Study (HRS; n=8,912). We examined the extent to which perceived chances of living another 10 years are associated with three components of ACP (living will, durable power of attorney for health care [DPAHC], and informal discussions). We used multilevel logistic regression models to evaluate the extent to which SLE mediates the association between race and ACP, adjusting for demographic, socioeconomic, psychosocial, and health characteristics.

RESULTS: Black and Hispanic older adults have significantly lower rates of ACP relative to whites. These disparities persist even when SLE is controlled. Blacks report especially optimistic whereas Hispanics report pessimistic survival expectations, although these differences do not explain racial disparities in ACP. SLE has direct effects on ACP, such that persons who report an "uncertain" SLE are less likely to have a living will or a DPAHC, whereas those who perceive a 50 percent chance of survival have significantly greater odds of discussions, relative to those who perceive a 0 percent chance of survival.

DISCUSSION: Doctor-patient conversations about the likely course of one's illness may inform patients' knowledge of their SLE, which may motivate timely ACP.

Citation Key12089
PubMed ID35018448