Race/Ethnicity and Nativity Differentials in Self-Care Limitations for Men and Women in Later Life

Jennifer E. Melvin, University of Texas at Austin

Physical functioning is an important predictor of health and mortality for older adults. This study asserts a new framework that draws from the traditional disablement model and NHATS framework but further posits that the primary pathway for disability starts with race/ethnicity, nativity, and gender. These are demographic dimensions of stratification that are closely tied to primary environmental influences with work to structure health throughout the life course. I use data from the National Health and Aging Trends Study (NHATS) to examine race/ethnic and nativity differences in self-care among men and women aged 65 and older. I expect to find that race/ethnic and nativity disparities in self-care limitations persist even after controlling for key social and environmental factors such as socioeconomic resources, marital status, living arrangements, and health conditions. The disparities I report have important implications for health services and health policy geared toward a rapidly diversifying aging population.

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 Presented in Session P5. Adult Health and Mortality