Multiple mediation in the relation between socio-economic position and health
NOVA, Norwegian Social Research, Oslo and Akershus University College, Norway
Good health is one of the key qualities of life, but opportunities to be and remain healthy are unequally distributed across socio-economic groups. The role of the social network as potential mechanism in the pathway from the socio-economic position (SEP) to health has derived little attention. This study examines whether structural and/or functional characteristics of the social network mediates the effect of socio-economic position (SEP) on physical health. Data comprise 4,534 men and 4,690 women aged between 40 and 81 participating in the Life course, Aging and Generation study (NorLAG). We apply multiple mediation models (Preacher and Hayes, 2008) to evaluate the relative importance of each network characteristic. Our results indicate clear socio-economical patterns in the social network. The network of men and women with higher SEP better protects against loneliness, which is related to better physical health. The effects of the network on health are similar in younger and older people, but the explained variance of health in older people is only half of that of middle-aged people, indicating that other factors than SEP become more important for health at older age. Based on estimates with the multiple mediation model we concluded that the function of the network is more important for physical health than its structure. Multiple mediation analyses appeared to be a helpful analytical strategy to test the tenability of multiple mediators simultaneously.
Assessing the quality of SHARE survey data. The impact of aging on measurement error
1Golgi Cenci Foundation, Italy; 2University of Milan Bicocca, Italy
In an aging society, the availability of good quality survey data is key. In particular, longitudinal surveys of older people are very powerful research resources to study social inequalities and monitor older people’s health conditions. It is not surprising that a number of longitudinal surveys of older people has been conducted in recent decades, both in the U.S. and in Europe.
The relevance of these surveys is undisputed. However, there are very few studies that systematically assessed data quality in longitudinal surveys of older people (Kalwij, 2010; Gaertner et al., 2015).
This paper aims to evaluate the quality of the survey data in the Survey for Health and Retirement in Europe (SHARE). We draw on Lynn and Lugtig (2016)’ theoretical framework to assess the effect of aging, and in particular, of changes in respondent cognitive functions, on a number of indicators of measurement error, including item non response and answers to open ended questions. Controlling for age and educational level, we expect to find a positive relationship between a deterioration in cognitive functioning and the occurrence of measurement error.
We use Wave 1, 2, 4 and 5 of SHARE data. We intend to employ a set of multilevel models and, in particular, to use growth curve models (GCM) which are appropriate statistical techniques to model change in a dynamic framework. We consider as independent variables a set of indicators of cognitive function, i.e., ability in verbal fluency and numeracy skills.
A life-course approach to the study of paid work, informal care provision, volunteering and civic participation in mid to later life in Britain
1King's College London, United Kingdom; 2University of Manchester, United Kingdom
In light of population ageing, policies aimed at extending working lives are being implemented in numerous countries around the world. In the UK, the state pension age has been delayed and pathways to early retirement have been restricted. However, given older adults’ substantial contributions to unpaid activities, such as informal care and volunteering, longer working lives may have repercussions for engagement in these activities. Previous research on the relationship between paid and unpaid activities has predominantly focused on single activities and taken a short-term perspective.
We examine mid to later life pathways of engagement in paid work, informal care provision, volunteering and civic participation. Engagement pathways are modelled through two-stage latent class analysis, using longitudinal data from the British Household Panel Survey and Understanding Society (1991-2015). In addition, drawing on the life course perspective, we assess how engagement pathways are related to gender, socioeconomic position, health and labour market and family life-course experiences, in order to understand how dimensions of cumulative (dis)advantage shape inequalities in engagement in later life.
Results suggest that a life-course perspective is needed when studying engagement in unpaid activities at a later age, as earlier levels of involvement determine engagement in later life. Furthermore, findings highlight the importance of inequalities in engagement as health and socioeconomic position are related to mid to later life engagement. Pathways of higher engagement in paid and unpaid activities characterise the experience of a small proportion of our sample who enjoy better health and hold higher socioeconomic position. Implications for the promotion of active ageing and current trends of increasing labour market participation at older ages are discussed.
Prevalence of loneliness, activities engagement and life satisfaction in later life: A snapshot from the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE)
Palacký University Olomouc, Czech Republic
This current study examines the relationships between loneliness, social and cognitive activities engagement, and life satisfaction among respondents to the Survey of Health, Ageing, and Retirement in Europe (SHARE) wave 5. A total sample of 16,448 male and 19,952 female aged 65 to 103 years from 15 European countries was analyzed. We used a multiple questionnaire items to measure activities engagement, loneliness, and life satisfaction among the respondents. A series of multiple regressions and a technique of structural equation modeling (SEM) were employed to examine the hypothesized relationships among study variables. Results indicated that across different indicators of activities engagement, there were significant path coefficients toward the measure of loneliness; for those who more frequently participated in educational or training courses and sport or social clubs in the past year, they were less likely to experience loneliness. The measures of activities engagement and loneliness were significantly associated with life satisfaction, but different ways. Activities engagement positively affected life satisfaction (p < .01), while loneliness negatively influenced life satisfaction among the elderly (p < .001). We also found activities engagement was a significant mediating factor in the association between loneliness and life satisfaction. Study findings reinforced the important role of remaining activities in seniors’ quality of life. This suggests that we should promote sustainable community programmes to help the elderly more engage in social activities and better cope with loneliness.