(from abstract): This research will look at the sociological implications of a health model for elders. The health model, which is a classic stress model, is referred to as holistic because of its comprehensive presentation. It includes the major health concepts that are significant in research on elders. This research seeks to know how these concepts of spirituality and religiosity affect the outcomes of physical, psychological, and social dimensions of well-being. In particular, to what extent they act as suppressors in the model. Because spirituality or religiosity has been found to be so important to elders, they are central concepts that will be studied in this research. A more universal conceptualization, spirituality, and the more traditional religious behavior construct will be compared in order to see which is more important to older individuals in the face of stress exposure. Another underlying goal of this research will be to have greater understanding about the importance of the concept of lifestyle behaviors in mediating the effects of stress. In addition, the investigator will show how this relationship affects the physical, psychological, and social dimensions of well-being. Gaining more awareness about how social structures exacerbate the amount of stress that accompanies chronic illness in elders will also be important to this research. Knowing this, and what the buffering effects are on this stress, can provide the tools needed for education in proactive health concepts and practices. This is important for policy decisions in an increasingly aging American population. Understanding how stress may be mediated is important for more practical reasons among socially stratified aging populations also. These are important and useful concepts in aging research, as well as, understanding how socially stratified populations experience and manage illness. This could be especially valuable for understanding how to improve the future aging patterns of African Americans, who currently show much higher levels of morbidity than Caucasians. A cross-sectional design will be used to analyze a randomly selected secondary sample, taken from the 1975 and 1987 Medicare lists. The sample of N=606 is a population of elders age 65+. This sample will be diverse, made up of White and African American geriatric patients from Metropolitan Cleveland. Ordinary Least Squares (OLS) Regression and Structural Equation Modeling will be used to assess the comprehensive health model. The impact of stress exposure, in the form of chronic illness and sociodemographic risk factors, will be examined. This research will also look at how the mediators, of health-enhancing lifestyle behaviors and spiritual and religious resources, suppress the impact of this stress on the subjective outcome measures of well-being.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Aging (NIA)
Small Research Grants (R03)
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Study Section
National Institute on Aging Initial Review Group (NIA)
Program Officer
Stahl, Sidney M
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Case Western Reserve University
Social Sciences
Schools of Arts and Sciences
United States
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Boswell, Gracie E H; Boswell-Ford, Kirstin C (2010) Testing a SEM model of two religious concepts and experiential spirituality. J Relig Health 49:200-11