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Minority Issues

  • Sherrill L. Sellers
  • James S. Jackson
  • Cheryl Burns Hardison
Part of the The Springer Series in Adult Development and Aging book series (SSAD)

Abstract

This chapter addresses the influence of cultural and ethnic factors on health among minority group older persons. Because of the existence of more extensive national data (Stanford & Du Bois, 1992), we focus primarily on Hispanic American, African American, and American Indian elderly. We realize that these three groups do not capture the full diversity of material, social, and life experiences among the vast array of minority elderly groups (J. S. Jackson, Albright, et al., 1995). They are, however, a sizable subset of the rapidly growing population of minority older adults. We are unable in the space allotted for this chapter to examine the complicated heterogeneity among even these three groups. Thus, we direct our attention primarily to common factors that may increase risk of, or enhance resilience to, poor physical health and mental health outcomes. Specifically, we examine the meaning and significance of minority group status to physical and psychological health and suggest that a culturally sensitive theoretical framework for research and interventions with ethnic minority older persons must attend to (1) sociohistorical context, (2) significance of minority group status, and (3) cultural reality of life among ethnic and racial minorities. These three recommendations evolve from assuming a life-course perspective on aging. A life-course perspective considers the unfolding of lives through time (J. S. Jackson & Sellers, 1997). This perspective is particularly important for considering the lives of ethnic minority older persons in whom experiences in adolescence and early adulthood, as well as cohort and period events, influence health trajectories, health behaviors, and attitudes toward health professionals (Riley, 1996).

Keywords

Mental Health Depressive Symptom Life Satisfaction Ethnic Minority Living Arrangement 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sherrill L. Sellers
    • 1
  • James S. Jackson
    • 1
  • Cheryl Burns Hardison
    • 1
  1. 1.Program for Research on Black Americans, Institute for Social ResearchUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA

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