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J Aging Health. 2019 Feb;31(2):231-255. doi: 10.1177/0898264317726608. Epub 2017 Aug 21.

Expanding the Happiness Paradox: Ethnoracial Disparities in Life Satisfaction Among Older Immigrants in the United States.

Author information

1
1 Boston College School of Social Work, Chestnut Hill, MA, USA.
2
2 Pepper Institute on Aging and Public Policy, Florida State University, Tallahassee, USA.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

This study investigated nativity disparities in life satisfaction among ethnoracial groups of older adults in the United States and the factors associated with such disparities.

METHOD:

Cross-sectional data from 7,348 respondents aged 60 and older from the 2012/2014 waves of the Health and Retirement Study (HRS) were used to estimate linear regression models.

RESULTS:

Older immigrants experienced higher levels of life satisfaction than comparable native-born individuals. This "happiness advantage" was particularly salient for Hispanic immigrants, who reported the highest levels of life satisfaction of all groups included in the study. With increasing education, life satisfaction increased for White and "Other Race" groups, regardless of nativity. However, for both Black groups and native-born Hispanics, higher levels of education were associated with lower life satisfaction.

DISCUSSION:

Findings suggest that the "happiness paradox" may not only be a matter of Hispanic ethnicity, but that it may also extend to immigrants from other ethnoracial backgrounds.

KEYWORDS:

Health and Retirement Study; ethnoracial; happiness paradox; immigrants; life satisfaction

PMID:
28826270
DOI:
10.1177/0898264317726608

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