Stroke-Attributable Death among Older Persons during the Great Recession

April Falconi, University of California, Berkeley
Alison Gemmill, University of California, Berkeley
Deborah Karasek, University of California, Berkeley
Julia M. Goodman, University of California, Berkeley
Beth Anderson, University of California, Berkeley
Murray Lee, University of Calgary
Benjamin Bellows, Population Council
Ralph Catalano, University of California, Berkeley

This study assesses how the Great Recession influenced the distribution of mortality among older Californians. Specifically, this study tests whether the ratio of stroke to other deaths would increase in the Recession. We applied interrupted time series methods to data from the California Department of Public Health Vital Statistics to determine whether the ratio of stroke deaths to other deaths differed from values expected from history. Our findings indicate that among non-Hispanic white men, the odds of stroke-attributable death increased between May 2008 and December 2010 by 16.6% over the level expected from history. Many mechanisms likely connect economic recession to stroke, and the Great Recession may have triggered more than one among non-Hispanic white males. We believe the Recession may have affected social, biologic, and behavioral risk factors and thereby altered the life histories of older men in ways that shifted mortality risk toward stroke.

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Presented in Session 58: Environmental Stressors and Health