The Impact of Psychosocial Factors in Explaining Race Disparities in Health Outcomes among Older Americans

Latrica E. Best, University of Southern California

With the incorporation of human development-based factors (e.g. personality, negative and positive affect) in demographic and epidemiologic research (Macleod and Davey Smith, 2003), the implementation of psychosocial measures in health disparities research deserves additional attention. Using the fairly new biological markers found in the 2006 wave of the Health and Retirement Study, I examine the role that psychosocial factors (cynical hostility, pessimism, sense of control, and social support) play in explaining race differences in both physical (measures of glycated hemoglobin, systolic and diastolic blood pressure, and body mass index) and mental (CES-D depressive symptoms scores) health outcomes for whites, blacks, and Hispanics. Preliminary results indicate that both positive and negative aspects of psychosocial measures warrants further attention among researchers concerned with health disparities.

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Presented in Poster Session 3