Understanding how race/ethnicity and gender define age-trajectories of disability: An intersectionality approach
A number of studies have demonstrated wide disparities in health among racial/ethnic groups and by gender, yet few have examined how race/ethnicity and gender intersect or combine to affect the health of older adults. The tendency of prior research to treat race/ethnicity and gender separately has potentially obscured important differences in how health is produced and maintained, undermining efforts to eliminate health disparities. The current study extends previous research by taking an intersectionality approach (Mullings & Schulz, 2006), grounded in life course theory, conceptualizing and modeling trajectories of functional limitations as dynamic life course processes that are jointly and simultaneously defined by race/ethnicity and gender. Data from the nationally representative 1994-2006 US Health and Retirement Study and growth curve models are utilized to examine racial/ethnic/gender differences in intra-individual change in functional limitations among White, Black and Mexican American Men and Women, and the extent to which differences in life course capital account for group disparities in initial health status and rates of change with age. Results support an intersectionality approach, with all demographic groups exhibiting worse functional limitation trajectories than White Men. Whereas White Men had the lowest disability levels at baseline, White Women and racial/ethnic minority Men had intermediate disability levels and Black and Hispanic Women had the highest disability levels. These health disparities remained stable with age--except among Black Women who experience a trajectory of accelerated disablement. Dissimilar early life social origins, adult socioeconomic status, marital status, and health behaviors explain the racial/ethnic disparities in functional limitations among Men but only partially explain the disparities among Women. Net of controls for life course capital, Women of all racial/ethnic groups have higher levels of functional limitations relative to White Men and Men of the same race/ethnicity. Findings highlight the utility of an intersectionality approach to understanding health disparities.
Volume (Year): 72 (2011)
Issue (Month): 8 (April)
|Contact details of provider:|| Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/wps/find/journaldescription.cws_home/315/description#description|
|Order Information:|| Postal: http://www.elsevier.com/wps/find/supportfaq.cws_home/regional|
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Verbrugge, Lois M. & Jette, Alan M., 1994. "The disablement process," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 38(1), pages 1-14, January.
- Jessica A. Kelley-Moore & Kenneth F. Ferraro, 2004. "The Black/White Disability Gap: Persistent Inequality in Later Life?," Journals of Gerontology: Series B, Gerontological Society of America, vol. 59(1), pages 34-43.
- Arber, Sara & Cooper, Helen, 1999. "Gender differences in health in later life: the new paradox?," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 61-76, January.
- Linda Waite, 1995. "Does marriage matter?," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 32(4), pages 483-507, November.
- Charles Hirschman & Richard Alba & Reynolds Farley, 2000. "The meaning and measurement of race in the U.S. census: Glimpses into the future," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 37(3), pages 381-393, August.
- Haas, Steven, 2008. "Trajectories of functional health: The 'long arm' of childhood health and socioeconomic factors," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 66(4), pages 849-861, February.
- Kim, Jinyoung & Miech, Richard, 2009. "The Black-White difference in age trajectories of functional health over the life course," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 68(4), pages 717-725, February.
- Linda G. Martin & Robert F. Schoeni & Vicki A. Freedman & Patricia Andreski, 2007. "Feeling Better? Trends in General Health Status," Journals of Gerontology: Series B, Gerontological Society of America, vol. 62(1), pages 11-21.
- James P. Smith, 1999. "Healthy Bodies and Thick Wallets: The Dual Relation between Health and Economic Status," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 13(2), pages 145-166, Spring.
- Kenneth F. Ferraro & Roland J. Thorpe & George P. McCabe & Jessica A. Kelley-Moore & Zhen Jiang, 2006. "The Color of Hospitalization Over the Adult Life Course: Cumulative Disadvantage in Black and White?," Journals of Gerontology: Series B, Gerontological Society of America, vol. 61(6), pages 299-306.
- Dora Costa, 2002. "Changing chronic disease rates and longterm declines in functional limitation among older men," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 39(1), pages 119-137, February.
- Macintyre, Sally & Hunt, Kate & Sweeting, Helen, 1996. "Gender differences in health: Are things really as simple as they seem?," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 42(4), pages 617-624, February.
- Bird, Chloe E. & Rieker, Patricia P., 1999. "Gender matters: an integrated model for understanding men's and women's health," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 48(6), pages 745-755, March.
- Mark Hayward & Melonie Heron, 1999. "Racial inequality in active life among adult americans," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 36(1), pages 77-91, February.
- Heckman, James, 2013.
"Sample selection bias as a specification error,"
Publishing House "SINERGIA PRESS", vol. 31(3), pages 129-137.
- Heckman, James J, 1979. "Sample Selection Bias as a Specification Error," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(1), pages 153-161, January.
- Kim, Jinyoung & Durden, Emily, 2007. "Socioeconomic status and age trajectories of health," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 65(12), pages 2489-2502, December.
- Read, Jen'nan Ghazal & Gorman, Bridget K., 2006. "Gender inequalities in US adult health: The interplay of race and ethnicity," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 62(5), pages 1045-1065, March.
- Jersey Liang & Joan M. Bennett & Benjamin A. Shaw & Ana R. Quiñones & Wen Ye & Xiao Xu & Mary Beth Ofstedal, 2008. "Gender Differences in Functional Status in Middle and Older Age: Are There Any Age Variations?," Journals of Gerontology: Series B, Gerontological Society of America, vol. 63(5), pages 282-292.
- Farmer, Melissa M. & Ferraro, Kenneth F., 2005. "Are racial disparities in health conditional on socioeconomic status?," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 60(1), pages 191-204, January.
- Carlos F. Mendes de Leon & Lisa L. Barnes & Julia L. Bienias & Kimberly A. Skarupski & Denis A. Evans, 2005. "Racial Disparities in Disability: Recent Evidence From Self-Reported and Performance-Based Disability Measures in a Population-Based Study of Older Adults," Journals of Gerontology: Series B, Gerontological Society of America, vol. 60(5), pages 263-271.
- Alberto Palloni & Elizabeth Arias, 2004. "Paradox lost: Explaining the hispanic adult mortality advantage," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 41(3), pages 385-415, August. Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:72:y:2011:i:8:p:1236-1248. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.