Race/Ethnic Disparities in Exposure to Chronic Stressors Varies by Age Among Older Adults

Lauren Brown , Population Studies Center
Jennifer A. Ailshire, University of Southern California

Prior research suggests stress exposure declines with age, yet racial/ethnic minorities report more stress exposure than whites. Stress exposure is linked to physical and mental health disparities making it important to investigate age and race/ethnic disparities in chronic stress exposure among older adults. We examine age variation in race/ethnic differences in the number of chronic stressors in six domains: health, financial, residential, employment, relationship, caregiving. Data come from 6,593 white, black, US and foreign born Hispanic adults age 52+ from the 2006 Health and Retirement Study. Multivariate results show fewer chronic stressors are reported by older adults 70+ compared to younger adults 54-69 years. Age and race interactions show stress burden is lower among older whites and Hispanics after age 70 compared to their younger counterparts; older blacks report similar stress burdens after age 70. Race/ethnic disparities in stress may reflect differential experiences of age-related declines in chronic stress exposure.

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 Presented in Session 81. Aging in the United States: Minorities and Other Vulnerable Populations