Differences between blacks and whites in well-being, beliefs, emotional states, behaviors and survival, 1978-2014
PublisherPublic Library of Science
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AbstractOBJECTIVES: Material well-being, beliefs, and emotional states are believed to influence one's health and longevity. In this paper, we explore racial differences in self-rated health, happiness, trust in others, feeling that society is fair, believing in God, frequency of sexual intercourse, educational attainment, and percent in poverty and their association with mortality. STUDY DESIGNS: Age-period-cohort (APC) study. METHODS: Using data from the 1978-2014 General Social Survey-National Death Index (GSS-NDI), we conducted APC analyses using generalized linear models to quantify the temporal trends of racial differences in our selected measures of well-being, beliefs, and emotional states. We then conducted APC survival analysis using mixed-effects Cox proportional hazard models to quantify the temporal trends of racial differences in survival after removing the effects of racial differences in our selected measures. RESULTS: For whites, the decline in happiness was steeper than for blacks despite an increase in high school graduation rates among whites relative to blacks over the entire period, 1978-2010. Self-rated health increased in whites relative to blacks from 1978 through 1989 but underwent a relative decline thereafter. After adjusting for age, sex, period effects, and birth cohort effects, whites, overall, had higher rates of self-rated health (odds ratio [OR] = 1.88; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.63, 2.16), happiness (OR = 2.05; 1.77, 2.36), and high school graduation (OR = 2.88; 2.34, 3.53) compared with blacks. Self-rated health, happiness, and high school graduation also mediated racial differences in survival over time. CONCLUSIONS: We showed that some racial differences in survival could be partly mitigated by eliminating racial differences in health, happiness, and educational attainment. Future research is needed to analyze longitudinal clusters and identify causal mechanisms by which social, behavioral, and economic interventions can reduce survival differences.
Identifier to cite or link to this itemhttp://hdl.handle.net/10713/13766