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Life course determinants of racial and ethnic disparities in functional health trajectories

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  • Haas, Steven
  • Rohlfsen, Leah

Abstract

Previous research has documented racial/ethnic disparities in functional health trajectories in old age, though little work has investigated the relative contribution of early and later life insults in their genesis. This paper uses two-part latent curve models to investigate the life course determinants of racial/ethnic disparities in functional health trajectories in the USA. We find that blacks and Hispanics have both a greater probability of having any limitation at baseline and more limitations on average among those who have any. Over time, there is convergence in trajectories between Hispanics and non-Hispanic whites, though the black-white gap remains constant. In addition, we find that disparities result from differential exposure to poor childhood health, early life socioeconomic deprivation, as well as adult health and socioeconomic attainment. However, the impact of childhood insults is largely mediated by more contemporaneous factors. We also find little evidence that the impact of life course factors varies across groups.

Suggested Citation

  • Haas, Steven & Rohlfsen, Leah, 2010. "Life course determinants of racial and ethnic disparities in functional health trajectories," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 70(2), pages 240-250, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:70:y:2010:i:2:p:240-250
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Turner, R. Jay & Thomas, Courtney S. & Brown, Tyson H., 2016. "Childhood adversity and adult health: Evaluating intervening mechanisms," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 156(C), pages 114-124.
    2. Boen, Courtney, 2016. "The role of socioeconomic factors in Black-White health inequities across the life course: Point-in-time measures, long-term exposures, and differential health returns," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 170(C), pages 63-76.
    3. Jeremy Pais, 2014. "Cumulative Structural Disadvantage and Racial Health Disparities: The Pathways of Childhood Socioeconomic Influence," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 51(5), pages 1729-1753, October.
    4. Aïda Solé-Auró & Hiram Beltrán-Sánchez & Eileen Crimmins, 2015. "Are Differences in Disability-Free Life Expectancy by Gender, Race, and Education Widening at Older Ages?," Population Research and Policy Review, Springer;Southern Demographic Association (SDA), vol. 34(1), pages 1-18, February.
    5. Jennifer Montez & Mark Hayward, 2014. "Cumulative Childhood Adversity, Educational Attainment, and Active Life Expectancy Among U.S. Adults," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 51(2), pages 413-435, April.
    6. Hudson, Darrell L. & Puterman, Eli & Bibbins-Domingo, Kirsten & Matthews, Karen A. & Adler, Nancy E., 2013. "Race, life course socioeconomic position, racial discrimination, depressive symptoms and self-rated health," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 97(C), pages 7-14.
    7. Halleröd, Björn & Gustafsson, Jan-Eric, 2011. "A longitudinal analysis of the relationship between changes in socio-economic status and changes in health," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 72(1), pages 116-123, January.
    8. Nicholas J. Bishop & Natalie D. Eggum-Wilkens & Steven A. Haas & Jennie J. Kronenfeld, 2016. "Estimating the Co-Development of Cognitive Decline and Physical Mobility Limitations in Older U.S. Adults," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 53(2), pages 337-364, April.

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