Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Functional Health Trajectories and their Life Course Antecedents: Results from a Two-part Latent Growth Curve Model for Semi-Continuous Data

Steven A. Haas, Arizona State University
Leah Rohlfsen, Arizona State University

This paper examines racial and ethnic differentials functional health trajectories with the goal of better understanding racial/ethnic disparities in health as they unfold over the life course. Towards this aim it investigates the relative contribution made by childhood and adult health and socioeconomic factors towards explaining racial and ethnic differentials in functional health trajectories. This study takes advantage of ten-year longitudinal data from the Health and Retirement Study (HRS) and a two-part semi-continuous latent growth curve model to estimate racial and ethnic differences in trajectories of limitation onset and severity simultaneously, and the covariates of these trajectories. Preliminary results find that Non-Hispanic blacks and Hispanics have significantly higher baseline probability of having any functional limitations and a higher number of limitations conditional on onset than Non-Hispanic whites. However, after controlling for childhood and adult health and socioeconomic factors these racial and ethnic disparities are no longer observed.

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Presented in Session 71: Adult Mortality Differences by Race/Ethnicity