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J Aging Health. 2009 Mar;21(2):398-425. doi: 10.1177/0898264308329023. Epub 2008 Dec 22.

Increased mortality risk in older adults with persistently low or declining feelings of usefulness to others.

Author information

1
University of California, Los Angeles, USA.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

This study seeks to determine if persistently low or declining feelings of usefulness to others in later life predict increased mortality hazard in older adults.

METHOD:

Data on change in perceptions of usefulness, health, behavioral and psychosocial covariates, and mortality originate from the MacArthur Study of Successful Aging, a prospective study of 1,189 older adults (aged 70 to 79).

RESULTS:

Older adults with persistently low feelings of usefulness or who experienced a decline to low feelings of usefulness during the first 3 years of the study experienced a greater hazard of mortality (sociodemographic adjusted hazard ratio = 1.75; 95% confidence interval = 1.22, 2.51) during a subsequent 9-year follow-up as compared to older adults with persistently high feelings of usefulness.

DISCUSSION:

Older adults with persistently low perceived usefulness or feelings of usefulness that decline to a low level may be a vulnerable group with increased risk for poor health outcomes in later life.

PMID:
19104034
PMCID:
PMC2747376
DOI:
10.1177/0898264308329023
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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