Examining resources and their influence on developmental health outcomes in older African Americans

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2015-01-01
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Johnson, Meneka
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Peter Martin
Carolyn E. Cutrona
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Human Development and Family Studies

The Department of Human Development and Family Studies focuses on the interactions among individuals, families, and their resources and environments throughout their lifespans. It consists of three majors: Child, Adult, and Family Services (preparing students to work for agencies serving children, youth, adults, and families); Family Finance, Housing, and Policy (preparing students for work as financial counselors, insurance agents, loan-officers, lobbyists, policy experts, etc); and Early Childhood Education (preparing students to teach and work with young children and their families).

History


The Department of Human Development and Family Studies was formed in 1991 from the merger of the Department of Family Environment and the Department of Child Development.

Dates of Existence
1991-present

Related Units

  • College of Human Sciences (parent college)
  • Department of Child Development (predecessor)
  • Department of Family Environment (predecessor)

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The main purpose of this dissertation was to assess the psychosocial resources and their effect on developmental health outcomes in African-American older adults in their 60s, 80s, and 100s. One framework that was helpful in understanding the outcomes of aging African Americans was Hobfall's conservation of resources model (Hobfall, 1989). Three studies are presented and discussed using data from the Georgia Centenarian Study. The first study investigated the type and level of resources older African Americans report. In addition, age, gender, and cohort effects were examined to observe differences in the type and level of resources possessed. The second and third studies set out to develop resource models of adaptation based on Martin and Martin’s (2002) model of developmental adaptation. These models account for distal and proximal experiences and conditions that contribute to developmental health outcomes that can be used within the African-American older adult population, as well as serve as a potential framework for other ethnic minority older adults. More specifically, the second study examined early life experiences (i.e., education, childhood financial well-being, and early life events) and current social, financial and active coping resources on physical and functional health outcomes. The third study examined early life experiences (i.e., education, childhood financial well-being, and early life events) and current social, financial and active coping resources on mental health outcomes. The overall results suggest that African American older adults perceive themselves as having sufficient levels of psychosocial resources. Financial resources was a predictor of perceived physical health and functional health, whereas social resources was predictive of functional health and depressive symptoms.

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Thu Jan 01 00:00:00 UTC 2015