Explaining US racial/ethnic disparities in health declines and mortality in late middle age: The roles of socioeconomic status, health behaviors, and health insurance.

By | February 22, 2006

A study published in the February 2006 issue of Social Science and Medicine by Center member Joseph Sudano, PhD and Dr. David Baker, a former Center member, showed that declines in the health of older adults were most strongly associated with low SES (socioeconomic status). Higher mortality rates for blacks compared to whites were also observed. The difference in mortality rates between blacks and whites was mostly explained by worse health status in blacks noted at the beginning of the study. These findings suggest that if public health initiatives are to be broadly effective, they must account for SES if poorer patients are to benefit equally with more affluent ones. Data for this study was from the Health Retirement Study conducted between 1992 and 1998. For this study about 6000 non-Hispanic whites, 1300 non-Hispanic blacks and 700 Hispanics were interviewed. (posted 2/2006)Social Science and Medicine

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About Joseph J. Sudano

I have been trained as a medical sociologist and health services researcher and am currently a faculty member in the Population Health Unit in the Center for Health Care Research and Policy, Case Western Reserve University at The MetroHealth System and Assistant Professor in the Department of Medicine, Case Western Reserve University. I am also the Director of Education in the Center for Reducing Health Disparities at Case Western Reserve University. My current research interests include: disparities in health care access, utilization and health outcomes concentrating on minorities and other vulnerable populations; social determinants of health including community/contextual characteristics (e.g., residential segregation, SES/poverty, job opportunities); measurement equivalence, validity and item-response theory in cross-cultural health status measurement; culturally-specific health beliefs and behaviors; general cognitive ability, personality, and education in relationship to health status and health behaviors; structural equation modeling/path analysis in health outcomes research; health related survey data collection and analysis; international health services research.