Do Biomarkers Mediate the Relationship between Socioeconomic Status and Health in Two Older Populations?

Cassio M. Turra, Centro de Desenvolvimento e Planejamento Regional (CEDEPLAR)

Studies in the U.S. have provided evidence that physiological measures mediate the relation between socioeconomic status and health outcomes. In addition, strong associations between SES and biomarkers have been found in other Western countries. However, these relationships may not be ubiquitous. For example, a recent study based on data from Taiwan found that relatively few biomarkers were significantly associated with education and income (Dowd and Goldman 2006). These contradictory findings underscore the need to examine the consequences of life challenges on health status in different cultural and socioeconomic settings. The purpose of this paper is to start to fill this gap in knowledge by examining whether biomarkers associated with the stress response mediate the relationship between socioeconomic status and health in two different populations: Taiwan and Costa Rica. The findings provide an opportunity to identify the mechanisms linking social and physical dimensions in socioeconomic settings outside the U.S and Europe.

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Presented in Poster Session 7