English title: Perceived Age Discrimination as a Mediator of the Association Between Income Inequality and Older People's Self-Rated Health in the European Region
Author(s): Christin-Melanie Vauclair - Sibila Marques - Maria Luísa Lima - Dominic Abrams - Hannah J. Swift - Christopher Bratt -
Type: Journal article
Objectives. The relative income hypothesis predicts poorer health in societies with greater income inequality. This article examines whether the psychosocial factors of perceived age discrimination and (lack of) social capital may help explain the adverse effect of inequality on older people’s health. Methods. Self-rated health, perceived age discrimination, and social capital were assessed in the 2008/9 European Social Survey (European Social Survey Round 4 Data, 2008). The Gini coefficient was used to represent national inequalities in income in each of the 28 European Social Survey countries. Mediation analyses (within a multilevel structural equation modeling paradigm) on a subsample of respondents over 70 years of age (N = 7,819) were used to examine whether perceived age discrimination mediates the negative effect of income inequality on older people’s self-rated health. Results. Perceived age discrimination fully mediated the associations between income inequality and self-rated health. When social capital was included into the model, only age discrimination remained a significant mediator and predictor of self-rated health. Discussion. Concrete instances of age discrimination in unequal societies are an important psychosocial stressor for older people. Awareness that the perception of ageism can be an important stressor and affect older patient’s self-reported health has important implications for the way health practitioners understand and treat the sources of patient’s health problems in later life.
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Journal: The journals of gerontology. Series B, Psychological sciences and social sciences