Religious Attendance and the Disability Trajectories of Older Mexican Americans

Ryon Cobb, Florida State University
Terrence D. Hill, Florida State University

Objectives: In this paper, we test whether disability trajectories vary according to level of religious attendance in the elderly Mexican American population. Methods: Using six waves of data from the Hispanic Established Populations for the Epidemiologic Study of the Elderly (H-EPESE), we estimate a series of growth curve models to assess variations in multiple disability trajectories, including activities of daily living (ADL), instrumental activities of daily living (IADL), and performance oriented mobility assessment (POMA). Results: Our central finding is that higher levels of religious attendance are associated with slower rates of functional decline (ADL, IADL, and POMA) over the fourteen-year study period. Discussion: Additional research is needed to formally explain religious variations in disability trajectories and to establish the social conditions under which religious attendance is more or less protective.

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Presented in Session 18: Social Capital, Aging, and Well-Being