Poverty and InequalitySexual and Reproductive HealthFamily, Maternal & Child HealthMethodology

Life-course financial strain and health in African-Americans

TitleLife-course financial strain and health in African-Americans
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2010
AuthorsSzanton, SL, Thorpe, RJ, Whitfield, K
JournalSoc Sci Med
Date PublishedJul
ISBN Number1873-5347 (Electronic) 0277-9536 (Linking)
Accession Number20452712
KeywordsAfrican Americans/ psychology/statistics & numerical data, Cognition Disorders/ethnology/etiology, Cohort Studies, Cross-Sectional Studies, Depression/ethnology/etiology, Disabled Persons/statistics & numerical data, Educational Status, Health Status Disparities, Humans, Income/ statistics & numerical data, Lung Diseases/ethnology/etiology, Middle Aged, Respiratory Function Tests, Stress, Psychological/complications/ economics, Twin Studies as Topic

Differential exposure to financial strain may explain some differences in population health. However, few studies have examined the cumulative health effect of financial strain across the life-course. Studies that have are limited to self-reported health measures. Our objective was to examine the associations between childhood, adulthood, and life-course, or cumulative, financial strain with disability, lung function, cognition, and depression. In a population-based cross-sectional cohort study of adult African-American twins enrolled in the US Carolina African American Twin Study of Aging (CAATSA), we found that participants who reported financial strain as children and as adults are more likely to be physically disabled, and report more depressive symptoms than their unstrained counterparts. Participants who reported childhood financial strain had lower cognitive functioning than those with no childhood financial strain. We were unable to detect a difference in lung function beyond the effect of actual income and education in those who reported financial strain compared to those who did not. Financial strain in adulthood was more consistently associated with poor health than was childhood financial strain, a finding that suggests targeting adult financial strain could help prevent disability and depression among African-American adults.