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Philippa J. Clarke photo

Life course health and socioeconomic profiles of Americans aging with disability

Publication Abstract

Clarke, Philippa J., and Kenzie Latham. 2014. "Life course health and socioeconomic profiles of Americans aging with disability." Disability and Health Journal, 7(1): S15-S23.

The authors use nationally representative data from the U.S. Panel Study of Income Dynamics to describe the life course health and socioeconomic profiles of Americans who are aging with a work-limiting disability. They use data on a cohort of adults aged 20-34 in 1979, who were followed annually for 30 years to 2009 (to age 50-64). Disability is defined according to repeated measures of work limitations in prime working years. Using growth curve models, the authors compare those who are and those who are not aging with a work-limiting disability, analyzing their health, educational attainment, family formation, economic fortunes, and occupational history. They find that those with persistent work-limiting disability prior to age 50 experienced lower rates of employment and lower household incomes over adulthood. Additionally, in the mid-life period, adults with work-limiting disabilities were more likely to practice poor health behaviors (measured as smoking, obesity, and sedentary habits) and to experience restrictions in functional independence. These results identify factors that heighten the health/independence risks of adults aging with work-limiting disability and suggest the potential for interventions.

DOI:10.1016/j.dhjo.2013.08.008 (Full Text)

PMCID: PMC3901952. (Pub Med Central)

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