Aging Well among Black and White Older American Men: What is the Role of Mastery?

Objectives: This research explores Black-White differences in aging well and investigates whether mastery acts as a buffer against poor health for Black and White older American men. Methods: Using data from the Health and Retirement Study (HRS) (2008–2012) and the Psychosocial and Lifestyle Ques...

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Bibliographic Details
Main Author: Latham-Mintus, K.
Other Authors: Department of Sociology, School of Liberal Arts
Format: Article
Language:en_US
Published: Oxford University Press 2019
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Online Access:http://hdl.handle.net/1805/19857
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Summary:Objectives: This research explores Black-White differences in aging well and investigates whether mastery acts as a buffer against poor health for Black and White older American men. Methods: Using data from the Health and Retirement Study (HRS) (2008–2012) and the Psychosocial and Lifestyle Questionnaire (PLQ), a series of multinomial logit models were created to ascertain the odds of aging well over a two-year period. Because the PLQ is administered to half samples, the 2008 and 2010 samples were pooled and outcomes were assessed in the subsequent wave (i.e., 2010 or 2012). Respondents who rated their health favorably (good or better) and were free of disability at both waves were considered to be aging well. Mastery was lagged, and analyses (N=4,825) controlled for numerous risk factors including lifetime stressors. Results: After introducing the controls, there were no significant differences in the odds of aging well among Black and White men. Mastery was associated with higher odds of aging well (OR=1.14 [1.05, 1.25]; p=0.001). Mastery moderated the relationship between race and aging well. The predicted probability of aging well was relatively flat across all levels of mastery among Black men, yet White men saw consistent gains in the probability of aging well as mastery increased. Discussion: High levels of mastery are linked to positive health—often acting as a buffer against stressful life events. However, among Black men, higher levels of mastery did not necessarily equate to aging well. Yet, these analyses point to potential resiliency among Black men with low mastery.