A longitudinal assessment of perceived discrimination and maladaptive expressions of anger among older adults: Does subjective social power buffer the association?

TitleA longitudinal assessment of perceived discrimination and maladaptive expressions of anger among older adults: Does subjective social power buffer the association?
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsLee, Y, Bierman, A
JournalJournals of Gerontology Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences
Volume73
Issue8
Pagination120-130
Date Published10/2018
ISSN Number1758-5368
KeywordsDepressive symptoms, Discrimination, Older Adults, Social status
Abstract

OBJECTIVES: We examine whether perceived discrimination in older adults is associated with external conflict (anger-out) and internally directed anger (anger-in), as well as how subjective social power-as indicated by a sense of personal control and subjective social status-modifies these associations while holistically controlling for time-stable confounds and the five major dimensions of personality.

METHOD: The 2006 and 2008 psychosocial subsamples of the Health and Retirement Study were combined to create baseline observations, and the 2010 and 2012 waves were combined to create follow-up observations. Responses were analyzed with random-effects models that adjust for repeated observations and fixed-effects models that additionally control for all time-stable confounds.

RESULTS: Discrimination was significantly associated with anger-in and anger-out. Fixed-effects models and controls for personality reduced these associations by more than 60%, although they remained significant. Measures of subjective social power weaken associations with anger-out but not anger-in.

DISCUSSION: The mental health consequences of perceived discrimination for older adults may be over-estimated if time-stable confounds and personality are not taken into account. Subjective social power can protect victims of discrimination from reactions that may escalate conflict, but not from internalized anger that is likely to be wearing and cause further health problems.

DOI10.1093/geronb/gbw110
Alternate JournalJ Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci
Citation Key8683
PubMed ID27590787