SUCCESSFUL AGING AMONG MIDLIFE BLACK WOMEN: A LATENT CLASS ANALYSIS

TitleSUCCESSFUL AGING AMONG MIDLIFE BLACK WOMEN: A LATENT CLASS ANALYSIS
Publication TypeThesis
Year of Publication2023
AuthorsLEWIS, JOSHUACHRISTIAN
Academic DepartmentSociology
DegreeMaster of Arts
UniversityUniversity of Alabama at Birmingham
KeywordsAfrican American Women, Discrimniation, health, Successful aging, Well-being
Abstract

Successful aging (SA), as outlined by Rowe and Khan, with its objective focus on disease and disability
avoidance, maintaining high physical and cognitive function, and sustaining engagement in social and
productive activities, was meant to be a benchmark for assessing health and aging. However, given its rigid
criteria virtually no one “ages successfully” despite being in otherwise relatively good health. The assumption of
unsuccessful aging in populations who experience a higher prevalence of chronic disease, illness, disability, and
other health disparities, is implicit in the SA framework outlined by Rowe and Khan and would preclude many
Black women from being considered to age well. Building on recent theoretical advancements and critiques of
the successful aging framework I investigate how Black women successfully age intersectionally and examine
how interpersonal experiences of discrimination affect these successful aging patterns. Using an uncorrected
three-step process, I first conduct a latent class analysis (LCA) on data from the Health and Retirement Study
to identify successful aging classes among Non-Hispanic Black women between the ages of 50 and 72 (N =
1098) along sociocultural, physical, and psychological indicators. Secondly, I assign class membership to the
women of my sample. Thirdly and lastly, I estimate how perceived everyday discrimination and discrimination
attributions affect membership into SA classes across social status using multinomial logistic regressions. I
identified 5 unique successful aging classes among Black women indicated by differences in self-rated health,
chronic conditions, resilience, life satisfaction, psychological well-being, religiosity/spirituality, social
engagement, and social support. Everyday interpersonal experiences of discrimination were associated with
increased odds of poorer SA among Black women and increased probabilities into poorer SA classes. My
findings improve our understanding of successful aging among Black women by incorporating intersectionality
and life course considerations into the successful aging framework modeled by Rowe and Khan.

URLhttps://www.proquest.com/docview/2811445137?pq-origsite=gscholar&fromopenview=true
Citation Key13286