Skip to main content
×
×
Home

Socioeconomic inequalities in resilience and vulnerability among older adults: a population-based birth cohort analysis

  • T. D. Cosco (a1) (a2), R. Cooper (a1), D. Kuh (a1) and M. Stafford (a1)
Abstract
Background:

Aging is associated with declines in physical capability; however, some individuals demonstrate high well-being despite this decline, i.e. they are “resilient.” We examined socioeconomic position (SEP) and resilience and the influence of potentially modifiable behavioral resources, i.e. social support and leisure time physical activity (LTPA), on these relationships.

Methods:

Data came from the Medical Research Council National Survey of Health and Development, a nationally-representative birth cohort study. Resilience–vulnerability at age 60–64 years (n = 1,756) was operationalized as the difference between observed and expected levels of well-being, captured by the Warwick–Edinburgh Mental Well-being Scale (WEMWBS), given the level of performance-based physical capability. SEP was assessed by father's and own social class, parental education, and intergenerational social mobility. PA and structural/functional social support were reported at ages 53 years and 60–64 years. Path analysis was used to examine mediation of SEP and resilience–vulnerability through LTPA and social support.

Results:

Participants in the highest social class had scores on the resilience to vulnerability continuum that were an average of 2.3 units (β = 0.46, 95% CI 0.17, 0.75) higher than those in the lowest social class. Greater LTPA (β = 0.58, 95% CI 0.31, 0.85) and social support (β = 3.27, 95% CI 2.90, 3.63) were associated with greater resilience; LTPA partly mediated participant social class and resilience (23.4% of variance).

Conclusions:

Adult socioeconomic advantage was associated with greater resilience. Initiatives to increase LTPA may contribute to reducing socioeconomic inequalities in this form of resilience in later life.

Copyright
Corresponding author
Correspondence should be addressed to: Theodore D. Cosco, MRC Unit for Lifelong Health and Ageing at UCL, 33 Bedford Place, London WC1B 5JU, UK. Phone: +44 (0) 20 7670 5700. Email: t.cosco@ucl.ac.uk.
References
Hide All
Albrecht, G. L. and Devlieger, P. J. (1999). The disability paradox: high quality of life against all odds. Social Science & Medicine, 48, 977988.
Antonovsky, A. (1996). The salutogenic model as a theory to guide health promotion. Health Promotion International, 11, 1118.
Cohen, S., Mermelstein, R., Kamarck, T. and Hoberman, H. M. (1985). Measuring the functional components of social support. In Sarason, I. G. and Sarason, B. R. (eds.), Social Support: Theory, Research and Applications (pp. 7394). Dordrecht: Springer Netherlands.
Cooper, R. et al. (2014b). Physical capability and subsequent positive mental well-being in older people: findings from five HALCyon cohorts. Age (Dordr), 36, 445456.
Cooper, R., Hardy, R., Sayer, A. A. and Kuh, D. (2014a). A life course approach to physical capability. In Kuh, D., Cooper, R., Hardy, R., Richards, M. and Ben-Shlomo, Y. (eds.), A Life Course Approach to Healthy Ageing (pp. 1631). Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
Cooper, R., Mishra, G. D. and Kuh, D. (2011). Physical activity across adulthood and physical performance in midlife: findings from a British birth cohort. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 41, 376384.
Cooper, R., Strand, B. H., Hardy, R., Patel, K. V. and Kuh, D. (2014c). Physical capability in mid-life and survival over 13 years of follow-up: British birth cohort study. BMJ, 348, g2219.
Elhakeem, A., Cooper, R., Bann, D. and Hardy, R. (2015). Childhood socioeconomic position and adult leisure-time physical activity: a systematic review. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, 12, 92119.
Golden, J. et al. (2009). Loneliness, social support networks, mood and well-being in community-dwelling elderly. International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 24, 694700.
Golubic, R. et al. (2014). Levels of physical activity among a nationally representative sample of people in early old age: results of objective and self-reported assessments. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physicalctivity Act, 11, 58.
Guralnik, J. M., Butterworth, S., Wadsworth, M. E. and Kuh, D. (2006). Childhood socioeconomic status predicts physical functioning a half century later. Journals of Gerontology - Series A Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences, 61, 694701.
Hu, L. T. and Bentler, P. M. (1999). Cutoff criteria for fit indexes in covariance structure analysis: conventional criteria versus new alternatives. Structural Equation Modeling, 6, 155.
Kim, J. E. and Nesselroade, J. R. (2003). Relationships among social support, self-concept, and well-being of older adults: a study of process using dynamic factor models. International Journal of Behavioral Development, 27, 4965.
Kuh, D. et al. (2006). Developmental origins of midlife grip strength: findings from a birth cohort study. Journals of Gerontology - Series A Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences, 61, 702706.
Kuh, D. et al. (2011). Cohort profile: updating the cohort profile for the MRC National Survey of Health and Development: a new clinic-based data collection for ageing research. International Journal of Epidemiology, 40, e1–e9.
Kuh, D., Bassey, E. J., Butterworth, S., Hardy, R. and Wadsworth, M. E. (2005). Grip strength, postural control, and functional leg power in a representative cohort of British men and women: associations with physical activity, health status, and socioeconomic conditions. Journals of Gerontology - Series A Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences, 60, 224231.
Lyons, D. M., Parker, K. J., Katz, M. and Schatzberg, A. F. (2009). Developmental cascades linking stress inoculation, arousal regulation, and resilience. Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, 3, 6.
Manton, K. G., Corder, L. and Stallard, E. (1997). Chronic disability trends in elderly United States populations: 1982–1994. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 94, 25932598.
Marmot, M. (2005). Social determinants of health inequalities. Lancet, 365, 10991104.
Masten, A. S. (2001). Ordinary magic: resilience processes in development. American Psychologist, 56, 227238.
Miller-Lewis, L. R., Searle, A. K., Sawyer, M. G., Baghurst, P. A. and Hedley, D. (2013). Resource factors for mental health resilience in early childhood: an analysis with multiple methodologies. Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Mental Health, 7, 6.
Ong, A. D., Bergeman, C. S., Bisconti, T. L. and Wallace, K. A. (2006). Psychological resilience, positive emotions, and successful adaptation to stress in later life. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 91, 730749.
Pierce, M. B., Kuh, D. and Hardy, R. (2012). The role of BMI across the life course in the relationship between age at menarche and diabetes, in a British Birth Cohort. Diabetes Medicine, 29, 600603.
Podsiadlo, D. and Richardson, S. (1991). The timed ‘Up and Go’: a test of basic functional mobility for frail elderly persons. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 39, 142148.
Repetti, R. L., Taylor, S. E. and Seeman, T. E. (2002). Risky families: family social environments and the mental and physical health of offspring. Psychological Bulletin, 128, 330366.
Rutter, M. (2012). Resilience as a dynamic concept. Development and Psychopathology, 24, 335344.
Sacker, A. and Cable, N. (2006). Do adolescent leisure-time physical activities foster health and well-being in adulthood? Evidence from two British birth cohorts. European Journal of Public Health, 16, 331335.
Stafford, M. et al. (2013). Using a birth cohort to study ageing: representativeness and response rates in the National Survey of Health and Development. European Journal of Ageing, 10, 145157.
Tennant, R. et al. (2007). The Warwick–Edinburgh Mental Well-being Scale (WEMWBS): development and UK validation. Health and Quality of Life Outcomes, 5, 63.
Turner, R. J. and Marino, F. (1994). Social support and social structure: a descriptive epidemiology. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 35, 193212.
Wadsworth, M., Kuh, D., Richards, M. and Hardy, R. (2006). Cohort profile: the 1946 national birth cohort (MRC national survey of health and development). International Journal of Epidemiology, 35, 4954.
Windle, G., Woods, R. T. and Markland, D. A. (2010). Living with Ill-Health in older age: the role of a resilient personality. Journal of Happiness Studies, 11, 763777.
Wister, A. V., Coatta, K. L., Schuurman, N., Lear, S. A., Rosin, M. and MacKey, D. (2016). A lifecourse model of multi-morbidity resilience: theoretical and research developments. International Journal of Aging & Human Development, 82, 290313.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

International Psychogeriatrics
  • ISSN: 1041-6102
  • EISSN: 1741-203X
  • URL: /core/journals/international-psychogeriatrics
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Keywords

Type Description Title
WORD
Supplementary materials

Cosco et al supplementary material
Appendix 1

 Word (16 KB)
16 KB

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 2
Total number of PDF views: 85 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 437 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between 8th November 2017 - 21st June 2018. This data will be updated every 24 hours.