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Health and Living Arrangements among Older Adults in Diverse Social and Cultural Contexts.

By Bo Rin Kim


This dissertation consists of three empirical papers on health and living arrangements among older adults. It aims to investigate the dynamic associations between living arrangements and the physical/mental health among older adults, and to examine how these associations are influenced by various cultural factors, such as age cohort, race/ethnicity, and nationality. To accomplish these specific aims, two nationally representative panel data for older populations are examined: the 2006-2008 Korean Longitudinal Study of Ageing and the 1998-2010 Health and Retirement Study. The first study explores the effects of physical/mental health on transitions in living arrangements among older Koreans. The effects of health on living arrangements vary by marital status; while unmarried elders with health problems are more likely to live with their children, married elders tend to live near their children. The second study investigates how different types of living arrangements influence physical function and psychological well-being in old age, and how these effects differ between the old-old and the young-old. The results show that co-residence does not always positively influence health and well-being, particularly among the young-old. Finally, the third study analyzes the trajectories of living arrangements among older Americans over a twelve-year period. This study examines to what extent physical/mental health influence the trajectories of living arrangements, and if there are racial/ethnic variations. Older Americans are more likely to move closer in proximity to one of their children, but they do not usually move into the same household. The onsets and aggravations of health problems affect changes in living arrangements, and these linkages are stronger among Whites than African Americans and Hispanics. The findings highlight the importance of social and cultural contexts in understanding the linkages between health and living arrangements in old age. Given the increase of rapidly aging societies, understanding the dynamic linkages between health and living arrangements is important for social, health, and long-term care policies. My dissertation can contribute to a clearer identification of the groups of elderly who are at high risk for health problems and social isolation as well as to the design and implementation of service programs for these high-risk groups

Topics: Living Arrangements, Older Adults, Physical and Mental Health, Social and Cultural Contexts
Year: 2014
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