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Ethnicity and Changing Functional Health in Middle and Late Life: A Person-Centered Approach

Publication Abstract

Liang, Jersey, Xiaohe Xu, J.M. Bennett, Wei-Jun Jean Yeung, and A.R. Quinones. 2010. "Ethnicity and Changing Functional Health in Middle and Late Life: A Person-Centered Approach." Journals of Gerontology B: Psychological and Social Sciences, 65(4): 470-481.

Objectives. Following a person-centered approach. this research aims to depict distinct courses of disability and to ascertain how the probabilities of experiencing these trajectories vary across Black. Hispanic. and White middle-aged and older Americans Methods. Data came from the 1995-2006 Health and Retirement Study. which involved a national sample of 18.486 Americans older than 50 years of age Group-based semi parametric mixture models (Proc Traj) were used for data analysis Results. Five trajectories were identified (a) excellent functional health (61%). (b) good functional health with small increasing disability (25%). (c) accelerated increase in disability (7%). (d) high but stable disability (4%). and (e) persistent severe impairment (3%) However, when time-varying emanates (e g. martial status and health conditions) were controlled. only 3 trajectories emerged (a) healthy functioning (53%). moderate functional decrement (40%). and (c) large functional decrement (8%) Black and Hispanic Americans had significantly higher probabilities than White Americans in experiencing poor functional health trajectories. with Blacks at greater risks than Hispanics Conclusions. Parallel to the concepts of successful aging. usual aging. and pathological aging, there exist (distinct courses of changing functional health over time The mechanisms underlying changes in disability may vary between Black and Hispanic Americans

DOI:10.1093/geronb/gbq114 (Full Text)

PMCID: PMC2883869. (Pub Med Central)

Country of focus: United States of America.

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