Race-ethnicity and health trajectories: tests of three hypotheses across multiple groups and health outcomes.

TitleRace-ethnicity and health trajectories: tests of three hypotheses across multiple groups and health outcomes.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2012
AuthorsBrown, TH, O'Rand, AM, Adkins, DE
JournalJ Health Soc Behav
Date Published2012 Sep
ISSN Number2150-6000
KeywordsAge Factors, Aging, Black or African American, ethnicity, Female, Health Behavior, Health Status Disparities, Health Surveys, Humans, Male, Mexican Americans, Middle Aged, Racial Groups, Risk Factors, Socioeconomic factors, Sociology, Medical, White People

Racial-ethnic disparities in static levels of health are well documented. Less is known about racial-ethnic differences in age trajectories of health. The few studies on this topic have examined only single health outcomes and focused on black-white disparities. This study extends prior research by using a life course perspective, panel data from the Health and Retirement Study, and multilevel growth curve models to investigate racial-ethnic differences in the trajectories of serious conditions and functional limitations among blacks, Mexican Americans, and whites. We test three hypotheses on the nature of racial-ethnic disparities in health across the life course (aging-as-leveler, persistent inequality, and cumulative disadvantage). Results controlling for mortality selection reveal that support for the hypotheses varies by health outcome, racial-ethnic group, and life stage. Controlling for childhood socioeconomic status, adult social and economic resources, and health behaviors reduces but does not eliminate racial-ethnic disparities in health trajectories.

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Endnote Keywords

Minority and ethnic groups/Older people/Cardiovascular disease/Inequality/Cultural differences/Cultural differences/Ethnicity/Diabetes/Socioeconomic Differences

Endnote ID


Alternate JournalJ Health Soc Behav
Citation Key7750
PubMed ID22940814
PubMed Central IDPMC3668643
Grant ListP30 AG034424 / AG / NIA NIH HHS / United States
K01 MH093731 / MH / NIMH NIH HHS / United States
T32 AG00029 / AG / NIA NIH HHS / United States
K01MH093731 / MH / NIMH NIH HHS / United States
T32 AG000029 / AG / NIA NIH HHS / United States