Trajectories of Aging among US Older Adults: Mixed Evidence for a Hispanic Paradox.

TitleTrajectories of Aging among US Older Adults: Mixed Evidence for a Hispanic Paradox.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2020
AuthorsTarraf, W, Jensen, GA, Dillaway, HE, Vásquez, PM, González, HM
JournalThe Journals of Gerontology Series B: Psychological Sciences & Social Sciences
Type of ArticleJournal
ISSN Number1079-5014
KeywordsAging trajectories, cognitive aging, healthy aging, Hispanic paradox, Immigrant health

Objectives: A well-documented paradox is that Hispanics tend to live longer than non-Hispanic Whites (NHW), despite structural disadvantages. We evaluate whether the "Hispanic paradox" extends to more comprehensive longitudinal aging classifications and examine how lifecourse factors relate to these groupings.

Methods: We used biennial data (1998-2014) on adults 65-years and older at baseline from the Health and Retirement Study. We use joint latent class discrete time and growth curve modeling to identify trajectories of aging, and multinomial logit models to determine whether US-born (USB-H) and Foreign-born (FB-H) Hispanics experience healthier styles of aging than non-Hispanic Whites (NHW), and test how lifecycle factors influence this relationship.

Results: We identify four trajectory classes including, "cognitive unhealthy," "high morbidity," "non-accelerated", and "healthy." Compared to NHWs, both USB-H and FB-H have higher relative risk ratios (RRR) of "cognitive unhealthy" and "high morbidity" classifications, relative to "non-accelerated." These patterns persist upon controlling for lifecourse factors. Both Hispanic groups, however, also have higher RRRs for "healthy" classification (vs. "non-accelerated") upon adjusting for adult achievements and health behaviors.

Discussion: Controlling for lifefcourse factors USB-H and FB-H have equal or higher likelihood for "high morbidity" and "cognitive unhealthy" classifications, respectively, relative to NHWs. Yet, both groups are equally likely of being in the "healthy" group compared to NHWs. These segregations into healthy and unhealthy groups require more research and could contribute to explaining the paradoxical patterns produced when population heterogeneity is not taken into account.

User Guide Notes

Alternate JournalJ Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci
Citation Key9772
PubMed ID29788310
Grant ListP30 AG059299 / AG / NIA NIH HHS / United States