The principal aim of the project was to investigate health disparities among the elderly and old population by socioeconomic status, race and ethnicity in Mexico and the United States, and to propose potential explanations for the observed differences in morbidity and mortality observed among various population groups in the two countries. The project aimed also to investigate how the effects of socioeconomic factors such as education, race, ethnicity, sex change over the life span of individuals, and whether these effects a different among the two countries. An additional effort of the project was to investigate whether the socioeconomic groups who experience the highest level of morbidity and mortality experience the most rapid health selection over the life course, and whether the accumulation of adverse health processes from childhood onwards may accelerate the aging processes.
The principle aim is to investigate health disparities in the older population by race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic groups in the United States. The analyses develop and apply random-effect and fixed-effect frailty models for the investigation of mortality differentials and mortality selection processes in mid-and late-life at adult and old ages. These methods will be applied to data from the “Berkeley Mortality Database”, the Social Security Administration, the Health and Retirement Study (HRS), the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS). The research will yield insights into the differential increase in the mortality and morbidity trajectories for various sub-groups in the U.S. population. In particular, the research will investigate the selection dynamics that underlie the observed patterns of mortality by sex, race, ethnicity and socioeconomic groups and assess how the effects of various individual-level characteristics change with increasing age. In addition, the research proposes to use a different approach – the time-to-death approach – to measure health and morbidity differentials by race and ethnicity.
Health disparities among the elderly and old population by socioeconomic status, race and ethnicity in the US and Mexico.
The goal of this paper is to illustrate problems with the comparability of health indicators used in cross-national research and how cultural and validity biases may confound the interpretation of results. In particular, the authors address the comparability issues by using self-reported health in two different contexts—Mexico and the United States. The study design of MHAS allows for the first time to compare differences in self-reported health between a developing country (Mexico) and an industrialized country (the U.S.). Our results show that many of the observed patterns of self-reported diseases are sensitive to demographic phenomena such as, for example, differences in population age structure. In addition, our results show that Mexicans tend to down-grade their health status as being worse compared to non-Hispanic white Americans, and these differences cannot be explained by differences in diseases load or other objective health indicators. Thus, the analyses suggest that self-reported health of Mexicans may be culturally biased and determined by a general tendency to report worse health status.