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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/31723

Title: Gender, the State and a Lifetime of Experience: Understanding Health Inequality among Older Adults in Britain
Authors: Corna, Laurie Marie
Advisor: McDonough, Peggy
Department: Dalla Lana School of Public Health
Keywords: life course
health inequalities
Issue Date: 5-Jan-2012
Abstract: There is a well-established relationship between socioeconomic position (SEP) and health among older adults, but a short-coming of existing research is its failure to link the SEP-health relationship in later life to the gendered histories of work and family life, or the policy contexts in which these histories unfold. Drawing on the life course perspective and welfare state theory, this research investigates: the dominant patterns of labour market and family experiences over the life course for current cohorts of older adults in Britain; whether health dynamics among older adults vary by gender and life course experiences; and whether SEP and social roles at age 65 mediate these relationships. The data come from a sample of individuals born between 1927 and 1940 participating in the British Household Panel Survey (N=1552). I first examined life course experiences in the labour market and the family from young adulthood to retirement age using a two-stage latent class analysis. Theoretical considerations, along with indices of model fit, suggested that four latent life paths broadly characterized the experiences of the older adults in this sample. Consistent with the social policy context in Britain in the post-World War II years, I found evidence of distinct gender patterns in role configurations at various points across the life course and in the life pathways that link these experiences over time. In the second part of the analysis, I assessed health dynamics using latent growth curve models. Only mental health dynamics were patterned by life course histories, and SEP at age 65 mediated part of this relationship. The life course histories did not have an independent influence on trajectories of chronic health problems or self-assessed health. These findings are considered in the context of our current understanding of health dynamics among older adults, including gender differences and their relationship to SEP.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/31723
Appears in Collections:Doctoral

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