Race/Ethnicity, Nativity, and Gender Disparities in Mental Health Trajectories from Mid- to Later-Life: A Life Course-Intersectional Approach.

TitleRace/Ethnicity, Nativity, and Gender Disparities in Mental Health Trajectories from Mid- to Later-Life: A Life Course-Intersectional Approach.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of PublicationForthcoming
AuthorsLiu, J, Lin, Z
JournalJournal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities
ISSN Number2196-8837
KeywordsDepressive symptoms, gender, Intersectionality, life course, nativity, Race/ethnicity
Abstract

BACKGROUND: Numerous studies have highlighted mental health disparities based on race/ethnicity, nativity, and gender across different life stages. However, few have investigated how the intersectionality of these factors influences mental health trajectories during midlife to late life. This study fills this gap by adopting a life course-intersectional approach, viewing mental health trajectories as dynamic processes shaped by the combined influences of race/ethnicity, nativity, and gender. It explores social, psychological, and physiological pathways contributing to these disparities.

DESIGN: Using data from the Health and Retirement Study (2006-2018; N = 38,049 observations) and growth curve models, this study examines how intra-individual trends in depressive symptoms (measured as CES-D scale, 07) are influenced by the intersection of race/ethnicity, nativity, and gender. It also investigates the impact of objective and subjective social isolation and physical health on group disparities in mental health trajectories.

RESULTS: The findings reveal that, during mid- to early late-life, most Black and Hispanic Americans experience higher levels of depressive symptoms compared to their White counterparts (disparities ranging from 0.184 to 0.463 for men and 0.117 to 0.439 for women). However, this disadvantage diminishes for US-born Hispanic men and US-born Black women (0.014-0.031 faster decrease rates compared to US-born White), while it intensifies for Hispanic immigrants (0.017-0.018 slower decrease rates compared to US-born White) in advanced ages. Mediation analysis demonstrates that both social isolation and physical health contribute to these disparities, with physical health explaining a larger portion, particularly in differences between immigrant Hispanic women and US-born Whites.

CONCLUSION: This study underscores the importance of a life course-intersectional approach in understanding mental health disparities. It emphasizes the need for improved social welfare systems and community-level interventions targeting the specific challenges faced by older Hispanic immigrants, especially women who encounter multiple forms of oppression.

DOI10.1007/s40615-023-01808-x
Citation Key13577
PubMed ID37755686
PubMed Central ID9280855