Racial disparities in disability among older adults

Finding from the exploring health disparities in integrated communities study

Roland J Thorpe, Rachael McCleary, Jenny R. Smolen, Keith E. Whitfield, Eleanor Marie Simonsick, Thomas LaVeist

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Objective: Persistent and consistently observed racial disparities in physical functioning likely stem from racial differences in social resources and environmental conditions. Method: We examined the association between race and reported difficulty performing instrumental activities of daily living (IADL) in 347 African American (45.5%) and Whites aged 50 or above in the Exploring Health Disparities in Integrated Communities-Southwest Baltimore, Maryland Study (EHDIC-SWB). Results: Contrary to previous studies, African Americans had lower rates of disability (women: 25.6% vs. 44.6%, p = .006; men: 15.7% vs. 32.9%; p = .017) than Whites. After adjusting for sociodemographics, health behaviors, and comorbidities, African American women (odds ratio [OR] = 0.32, 95% confidence interval [CI] = [0.14, 0.70]) and African American men (OR = 0.34, 95% CI = [0.13, 0.90]) retained their functional advantage compared with White women and men, respectively. Conclusion: These findings within an integrated, low-income urban sample support efforts to ameliorate health disparities by focusing on the social context in which people live.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1261-1279
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Aging and Health
Volume26
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 19 2014

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community research
African Americans
disability
Health
health
confidence
Odds Ratio
Confidence Intervals
Baltimore
Health Behavior
comorbidity
Activities of Daily Living
health behavior
environmental factors
Comorbidity
low income
American
resources
community

Keywords

  • African americans
  • Disability
  • EHDIC
  • Older adults
  • Racial disparities

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Gerontology
  • Community and Home Care

Cite this

Racial disparities in disability among older adults : Finding from the exploring health disparities in integrated communities study. / Thorpe, Roland J; McCleary, Rachael; Smolen, Jenny R.; Whitfield, Keith E.; Simonsick, Eleanor Marie; LaVeist, Thomas.

In: Journal of Aging and Health, Vol. 26, No. 8, 19.12.2014, p. 1261-1279.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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