|Relationships between resilience indicators and engagement in disease prevention behavior among adults in the Health and Retirement Study
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|Health Conditions and Status, Preventative Care, Resilience
BACKGROUND: Seniors are the fastest growing age demographic in the United States; by 2030, 72 million Americans are projected to be over the age of 65. These rapid demographic changes have called for better understanding of healthy, successful aging. Previous work using data on Americans of retirement age showed that resiliency is associated with lower healthcare utilization which tends to be costly to individuals and burdensome to an already strained healthcare system. The primary goal and hypothesis of this study is to test the association between resiliency and participation in disease prevention behaviors.
METHODS: The study used a sample of 6,693 respondents from the 2012 wave of the Health and Retirement Study who answered the Psychosocial Leave-Behind questionnaire. Logistic regression was used to evaluate the relationship between indicators of resilience (mastery and social support) with the behavioral outcomes (receiving a flu shot, prostate screening, or mammography). The cancer screening models were restricted by gender. Relationships between the outcomes and workforce participation status, marital status, physical activity, education, history of smoking, comorbidity, body mass index, and cumulative lifetime adversity were also explored. All analyses were conducted using SAS survey procedures to account for complex survey design.
RESULTS: The present findings do not provide consistent evidence that higher resilience corresponds to greater utilization of preventative health behavior. Results indicate that high mastery is associated with greater likelihood of receiving a mammogram, but show lower odds of receiving a flu shot. For social support, the results demonstrated that individuals who scored higher on the negative social support scale are more likely to get a mammogram or flu shot. There is little to suggest that resilient individuals engage in healthy disease prevention behaviors more than their less resilient counterparts. Future studies might look at comparing estimates based on different methodologies for measuring resilience in this population or exploring different variables that better characterize the health behaviors of resilient senior citizens.