Racial differences in mortality in older adults: Factors beyond socioeconomic status

Roland J. Thorpe, Annemarie Koster, Hans Bosma, Tamara B. Harris, Eleanor M. Simonsick, Jacques Th M. Van Eijk, Gertrudis I.J.M. Kempen, Anne B. Newman, Suzanne Satterfield, Susan M. Rubin, Stephen B. Kritchevsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Background Little is known about the simultaneous effect of socioeconomic status (SES), psychosocial, and health-related factors on race differences in mortality in older adults. Purpose This study examined the association between race and mortality and the role of SES, health insurance, psychosocial factors, behavioral factors, and health-related factors in explaining these differences. Methods Data consisted of 2,938 adults participating in the Health, Aging and Body Composition study. Mortality was assessed over 8 years. Results SES differences accounted for 60% of the racial differences in all-cause mortality; behavioral factors and selfrated health further reduced the disparity. The racial differences in coronary heart disease mortality were completely explained by SES. Health insurance and behavioral factors accounted for some, but not all, of the race differences in cancer mortality. Conclusions Race-related risk factors for mortality may differ by the underlying cause of mortality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)29-38
Number of pages10
JournalAnnals of Behavioral Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2012


  • Aging
  • Behavior
  • Mortality
  • Older adults
  • Psychosocial
  • Race
  • SES

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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