Widowhood and Hispanic Elder’s Mortality: An Appraisal of the Gender Effect

Ching-Yi A. Shieh, National Institutes of Health (NIH)

Using the 1993 to 2001 Hispanic Established Populations for the Epidemiologic Studies of the Elderly data (Hispanic EPESE), this study examines how transition to widowhood affects Hispanic American elders’ mortality, with a focus on the gender differentials. Results from the discrete hazard analysis demonstrate that transition to widowhood has a significant effect on individual elder’s mortality. All else being equal, becoming a widow or widower is associated with a 27% increase in risk of dying. Although experiencing widowhood has a detrimental impact on both men and women’s mortality, it affects men more than women. Moreover, longer years of widowhood are related to a lower likelihood of death. The examination of elder’s socioeconomic status provides limited explanatory power for the mortality outcome. As expected, the hazard of mortality is significantly affected by individual’s age and self-rated health. However, the social support and immigrant variables do not show a statistical significant effect.

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Presented in Poster Session 2