This study tested whether genetically predicted trait-body mass index (trait-BMI) was linked to more general daily discrimination among older adults, and consequently to decline in their life satisfaction.
Data were from the Health and Retirement Study, nationally representative of U.S. adults over 50. Genetic prediction models were used to extract the trait component of BMI, which was then deployed in regression models for discrimination. A recently developed “regression with residuals” approach was used to test associations with subsequent change in life satisfaction.
Genetically predicted trait-BMI was linked to more general discrimination reports. It also had negative associations with change in life satisfaction—linkages not consistently or strongly mediated by discrimination.
Trait-BMI—arguably resistant to sustained alteration through individual efforts—seems linked to decline in older adults’ life satisfaction. General daily discrimination, however, may not be an important mechanism.