Online Program

Religious attendance and functional mobility among older Mexican americans

Monday, November 4, 2013

Amy Burdette, PhD, Center for Demography and Population Health, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL
Terrence Hill, PhD, Department of Sociology, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL
Jennifer Brailsford, Department of Sociology, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL
Background: Numerous studies of predominantly non-Hispanic white populations show that religious involvement favors health and longevity in later life. This report tests whether these general patterns extend to the functional mobility trajectories of older Mexican Americans. Methods: Our analyses employ seven waves of data collected from the original cohort of the Hispanic Established Populations for the Epidemiologic Study of the Elderly (H-EPESE, 1993-2010), a probability sample of 3050 Mexican Americans aged 65 and older who reside in Texas, California, New Mexico, Arizona, and Colorado. Religious involvement is assessed with a standard measure of religious attendance. Functional mobility is assessed with the performance-oriented mobility assessment (POMA). We used the growth mixture modeling (GMM) application in Mplus to estimate classes of POMA trajectories across the seven waves of data. We then estimated a series of multinomial logistic regression models to predict the odds of membership in the POMA trajectory classes. Results: Our key finding is that regular religious attendance is associated with more favorable functional mobility trajectories. These results persisted with controls for baseline assessments of the POMA, depression, cognitive functioning, chronic conditions, drinking, smoking, obesity, social support, and a range of relevant background factors. Conclusion: Regular religious involvement may slow the rate of functional decline among older Mexican Americans. Additional research is needed to explain this pattern.

Learning Areas:

Diversity and culture
Public health or related public policy
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Discuss links between religion and health in later life.

Keyword(s): Disability, Religion

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been conducting research on the relationship between religion and health for over ten years and have published numerous peer reviewed articles on this subject.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.