Advertisement

For Better or Worse: an Assessment of the ‘Linked Lives’ Concept and the Race-Based Effects of Partner Stress on Self-Rated Health Among Older Adults

  • Myles D. MoodyEmail author
  • Robyn L. Brown
  • Gabriele Ciciurkaite
Article
  • 15 Downloads

Abstract

Objective

The purpose of this study was to assess the utility of the life course framework concept of “linked lives” for examining the effects of partner stress on self-rated health among older adult populations.

Method

Data were derived from a partner-dyad study of Miami-Dade County residents and their significant others. We limited our analysis to respondents ages 60 or older (n = 409).

Results

Regression analyses revealed that greater levels of personally experienced major life events were associated with worse self-rated health. However, the association between a significant other’s stress exposure and one’s own self-rated health was only statistically significant among Black respondents.

Discussion

Extending prior study indicating that Black Americans tend to have worse self-rated health later in life relative to other racial groups, these findings demonstrate the utility of the linked lives concept for furthering an understanding of racial disparities in health based upon loved ones’ stressful experiences.

Keywords

Self-rated health Stress Race/ethnicity Life course Linked lives Older populations 

Notes

Funding

The authors received the following financial support for the research and/authorship of this article: project supported by grants R01DA13292 and R01DA16429 from NIDA.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interests

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

References

  1. 1.
    Braveman P, Egerter S, Williams DR. The social determinants of health: coming of age. Annu Rev Public Health. 2011;2:381–98.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Gee GC, Walsemann KM, Brondolo E. A life course perspective on how racism may be related to health inequities. Am J Public Health. 2012;102:967–74.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Hughes M, Thomas ME. The continuing significance of race revisited: a study of race, class, and quality of life in america, 1972 to 1996. Am Sociol Rev. 1998;63:785–95.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Lillie-Blanton M, Laveist T. Race/ethnicity, the social environment, and health. Soc Sci Med. 1996;43(1):83–91.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Williams DR, Priest N, Anderson N. Understanding associations between race, socioeconomic status and health: patterns and prospects. Health Psychol. 2016;35(4):407–11.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Dannefer D. Cumulative advantage/disadvantage and life course: cross-fertilizing age and social science theory. J Gerontol: Soc Sci. 2003;58B:S27–S337.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    DiPrete TA, Eirich GM. Cumulative advantage as a mechanism for inequality: a review of theoretical and empirical developments. Annu Rev Sociol. 2006;32:271–97.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Hudson DL, Puterman E, Bibbins-Domingo K, Matthews KA, Adler NE. Race, life course socioeconomic position, racial discrimination, depressive symptoms and self-rated health. Soc Sci Med. 2013;97:7–14.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Williams DR, Mohammed SA. 2009. Discrimination and racial disparities in health: evidence and needed research. J Behav Med. 2009;32(1):1–38.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Mouzon DM. Can family relationships explain the race paradox in mental health? J Marriage Fam. 2013;75:470–85.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Brown TN. Critical race theory speaks to the sociology of mental health: mental health problems produced by racial stratification. J Health Soc Behav. 2003;44(3):292–301.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Williams DR, Yu Y, Jackson JS. Racial differences in physical and mental health: socio-economic status, stress and discrimination. J Health Psychol. 1997;2(3):335–51.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Kung HC, Hoyert DL, Xu J, Murphy SL. Deaths: Final data for 2005. Natl Vital Stat Rep. 2008;56(10):1–20.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    McEwen BS. Physiology and neurobiology of stress and adaptation: central role of the brain. Physiol Rev. 2007;87:873–904.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Thoits PA. 2010. Stress and health: major findings and policy implications. J Health Soc Behav. 2010;51(1 suppl):S41–53.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Clark R, Anderson NB, Clark VR, Williams DR. Racism as a stressor for African Americans: a biopsychosocial model. Am Psychol. 1999;54(10):805–16.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Harrell SP. A multidimensional conceptualization of racism-related stress: implications for the well-being of people of color. Am J Orthopsychiatry. 2000;70(1):42–57.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Pearlin LI. The sociology of stress. J Health Soc Behav. 1989;30:241–56.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Thoits PA. Stress, coping, and social support processes: where are we? What next? J Health Soc Behav. 1995;Extra Issue:53–79.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Turner RJ. Understanding health disparities: the relevance of the stress process model. Soc Ment Health. 2013;3:170–86.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Williams DR, Neighbors HW, Jackson JS. Racial/ethnic discrimination, social class, and health among ethnic minority groups. Am J Public Health. 2003;92(4):624–31.Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Elder GH. Time, human agency, and social change: perspectives on the life course. Soc Psychol Q. 1994;57(1):4–15.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    George LK. Life-course perspectives on mental health. In: Handbook of the sociology of mental health. Boston, MA: Springer; 1999. pp. 565–583.Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    O’Rand AM. The precious and the precocious: understanding cumulative disadvantage and cumulative advantage over the life course. Gerontologist. 1996;36(2):230–8.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Turner RJ, Lloyd DA, Taylor J. Physical disability and mental health: an epidemiology of psychiatric and substance disorders. Rehab Psychol. 2006;51(3):214–23.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Mossey JM, Shapiro E. Self-rated health: a predictor of mortality among the elderly. Am J Public Health. 1982;72(8):800–10.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Turner RJ, Avison WR. Status variations in stress exposure: implications for the interpretation of research on race, socioeconomic status, and gender. J Health Soc Behav. 2003;44(4):488–503.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Williams DR, Costa M, Leavell J. Race and mental health: patterns and challenges. In: Scheid TL, Brown TN, editors. A handbook for the study of mental health: social contexts, theories, and systems, vol. 2010. New York: Cambridge University Press; 2010. p. 268–90.Google Scholar
  29. 29.
    Hollinghead AB. Two factor index of social position. New Haven: A. B. Hollingshead; 1957.Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    Geronimus AT. The weathering hypothesis and the health of African-American women and infants: evidence and speculations. Ethn Dis. 1992;2(3):207–21.Google Scholar
  31. 31.
    Geronimus AT, Hicken M, Keene D, Bound J. Weathering’ and age patterns of allostatic load scores among blacks and whites in the United States. Am J Public Health. 2006;96(5):826–33.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    Umberson D, Crosnoe R, Reczek C. Social relationships and health behavior across the life course. Annu Rev Sociol. 2010;36:139–57.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. 33.
    Umberson D, Montez JK. Social relationships and health: a fashpoint for health policy. J Health Soc Behav. 2010;51(1_suppl):S54–66.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. 34.
    Clark-Nicolas P, Gray-Little B. Effect of economic resources on marital quality in black married couples. J Marriage Fam. 1991;53(3):645–55.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© W. Montague Cobb-NMA Health Institute 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of SociologyUniversity of KentuckyLexingtonUSA
  2. 2.Department of SociologyUtah State UniversityLoganUSA

Personalised recommendations