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Religion, Aging, and Mexican American Health

a PSC Research Project

Investigator:   Neal Krause

A growing number of studies indicate that religion exerts a beneficial effect on health and well-being in late life. Moreover, this literature reveals that the salubrious effects of religion may be especially evident in racial minority groups. However, virtually all of this work has been conducted with older African Americans. Much less is known about the relationship between religion and health among older Mexican Americans. Part of the reason for this oversight arises from the fact that no one has developed a comprehensive set of religion indicators that are designed specifically for use with older Mexican Americans. The purpose of this study is to address this gap in the literature. In particular, the proposed research has the following objectives: 1.To conduct a series of qualitative studies (e.g., in-depth interviews and cognitive interviews) in order to identify the content domain of religion as it is lived by older Mexican Americans; 2. To use the data obtained from these qualitative methods to craft closed-ended survey items on religion; 3. To conduct a nationally-representative survey of older Mexican Americans in order to quantitatively evaluate the factor structure and psychometric properties of the newly devised religion measures; 4. To merge the quantitative data with a comparable nationwide survey that has already been conducted by the Principal Investigator to assess the relationship between religion and health in older Whites and older African Americans; and 5. To compare and contrast race differences in religiousness as well as race differences in the relationship between religion and health among older Whites, older Blacks, and older Mexican Americans.

Funding Period: 03/01/2007 to 02/28/2012

Country of Focus: USA

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