Predicting SNAP Participation in Older Adults: Do Age Categorizations Matter?

TitlePredicting SNAP Participation in Older Adults: Do Age Categorizations Matter?
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsGeiger, JR, Wilks, SE, Livermore, MM
JournalEducational Gerontology
KeywordsDemographics, Health Conditions and Status, Income, Public Policy

Prior, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) research reveals limited age cohort analyses that may not accurately reflect nuanced age differences in SNAP participation. The purpose of this study was to add depth to older age analysis and SNAP participation via four models of age categorizations. This secondary data analysis used a sample of 10,116 older adults from the 2010 Health and Retirement Study. Controlling for demographic, socioeconomic, and physical factors, logistic regression tested four age categorization models: Third-Age and Fourth-Age groupings; young-old, middle-old, and oldest old groupings; generic decade cohorts; and continuous age. Hypotheses for each model predicted older age as negative to SNAP participation. Significant predictors of SNAP participation included female gender, nonwhite non-Hispanic and Hispanic ethnicities, lower household income, inadequate food budget, and difficulty in self-dressing. Odds ratios confirmed age as a negative factor to SNAP participation. Addition of age categorizations into each model yielded nominal, effect size change. Yet, addition of age into the models changed the relationship between control variables and SNAP receipt, namely gender and Hispanic ethnicity. While age categorizations offered marginal effect predicting SNAP participation, difficulty dressing most strongly predicted increased participation across all models. This finding is relevant, as standard SNAP participation models for younger individuals rely heavily on socioeconomic indicators. Results suggest future research modeling SNAP participation in older individuals that emphasizes physical/medical issues.

Endnote Keywords

Aging/elderly/food stamps/older adults/poverty/welfare

Endnote ID


Citation Key8004