Racial/ethnic/gender-Based Differences in Health Trajectories Among American Older Adults: 10-Year Longitudinal Evidence from the Health and Retirement Study.

TitleRacial/ethnic/gender-Based Differences in Health Trajectories Among American Older Adults: 10-Year Longitudinal Evidence from the Health and Retirement Study.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of PublicationForthcoming
AuthorsKong, D, Lu, P, Davitt, J, Shelley, M
JournalSocial Work Public Health
Pagination1-15
ISSN Number1937-190X
Keywordsethnicity, growth curve model, Health differences, Intersectionality, race
Abstract

Health disparity by race/ethnicity or gender has been well-documented. However, few researchers have examined health outcomes based on the intersection of individuals' race, ethnicity, and gender or investigated various health dimensions. Guided by an intersectionality framework, this study explores racial/ethnic/gender-based differences in trajectories of multiple health outcomes over a ten-year period among American older adults. Longitudinal data from the Health and Retirement Study (2004-2014) were used ( = 16,654). Older adults (65+) were stratified into six mutually-exclusive groups based on their race, ethnicity, and gender: Non-Hispanic (NH) White Men, NH White Women, NH Black Men, NH Black Women, Hispanic Men, and Hispanic Women. Growth curve models examined the trajectories of three health measures, including cognitive function, physical function limitations (i.e. activities of daily living and instrumental activities of daily living), and depressive symptoms. NH White men and women reported significantly better outcomes in cognition and physical function trajectories than racial/ethnic minority groups. Women in all racial/ethnic groups had more depressive symptoms but better cognition than men. Hispanic women reported the most depressive symptoms. Hispanic women and NH Black women had the worst physical function limitations. NH Black men/women were the most disadvantaged in cognition. Racial/ethnic/gender-based differences were stable over time in all health trajectories. Study findings highlight the utility of an intersectional framework in understanding how multiple social identities intersect to generate protective and/or risk effects on cognitive, mental, and physical health. Multilevel intervention strategies are warranted to reduce the persistent health inequity gap.

DOI10.1080/19371918.2024.2320795
Citation Key13789
PubMed ID38416691