Social status, risky health behaviors, and diabetes in middle-aged and older adults

Linda A. Wray, Duane F. Alwin, Ryan J. McCammon, Timothy Manning, Latrica E. Best

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objectives. This article investigates: (a) how social status influences diabetes prevalence and incidence: (b) how risky health behaviors contribute to the prediction of incident diabetes: (c) it the effects of health behaviors mediate the effects of social status on incident diabetes: and (d) if these effects differ in midlife and older age. Methods. We examined nationally representative data from the 1992/1993-1998 panels of the Health and Retirement Study for middle-aged and older adults using logistic regression analyses. Results. The odds of prevalent diabetes were higher for people of older age. men. Black adults, and Latino adults. Higher early-life social status (e.g., parental schooling) and achieved social status (e.g., respondent schooling, economic resources) reduced the odds in both age groups. We observed similar patterns for incident diabetes in midlife but not in older age. Risky health behaviors-particularly obesity-increased the odds of incident diabetes in both age groups independent of social status. The increased odds of incident diabetes in midlife persisted for Black and Latino adults net of other social status factors. Discussion. Risky health behaviors are key predictors of incident diabetes in both age groups. Economic resources also play an important protective role in incident diabetes in midlife but not in older age.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S290-S298
JournalJournals of Gerontology - Series B Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences
Volume61
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2006

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health(social science)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies

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