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The effects of socioeconomic conditions on old-age mortality within shared disability pathways

AuthorsVoigt, Mathias; Abellán García, Antonio ; Pérez Díaz, Julio ; Ramiro Fariñas, Diego
Issue Date3-Sep-2020
PublisherPlos One
CitationPLoS ONE 15(9): e0238204 (2020)
AbstractObjective How disability manifests itself in an individual is a highly complex process influenced by awide range of individual and environmental factors. Its complexity makes the search for generalizable characteristics of the disablement process a challenging task. Consequentially, little is known about how the effect on other health outcomes such as life expectancy are modified after the onset of chronic ailments. In this paper we posit an alternative approach to generalize health trajectories of older people with disability and then analyze how socioeconomic conditions affect the longevity within these trajectory groups. Methods Individual level information about the first three successive onsets of chronic disability after age 50 is transformed into state-sequences. We extract trajectory groups based on onset time and the time spent in a certain state. Mortality hazards are then estimated with a Gompertz proportional hazards model to compare effects of different socioeconomic measures within the trajectory groups. Results Three distinct trajectory groups are identified, the mild (1), the early severe (2), and late severe (3) pathway. Estimates of the mortality analysis suggest that social inequalities in longevity are less pronounced after onset of old-age disability. We found a consistent survival prolonging effect for individuals who engage in daily activities (such as meeting with friends, walking) that ranged between 33.2% and 77.3%. The importance of other variables varies between trajectory groups. Discussion This study shows how health trajectories of individuals with disability can be generalized when information on the onset and severity of single conditions is available. Such an approach may help us to better predict health and care expenditures and help families and individuals with their personal care planning. The findings from the subsequent survival
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