Race, Aging, and Functional Health

Daniel O. Clark, George L. Maddox, Karen Steinhauser

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


This article presents evidence of a Black/White crossover in functional health. Its existence supports the hypothesis, based on selective survival, that older members of socially disadvantaged populations are relatively more physiologically robust and thus exhibit relatively favorable functional capacities. Longitudinal data on 5,150 persons 70 years of age and older shows that within young-old age groups, Blacks are more likely to experience functional status decline over a 6-year period than Whites, whereas within oldest-old age groups, Blacks are less likely to experience decline. The authors also provide confirmation or modification of several hypotheses implicit in the literature on aging, race, and functional health. They find support for the hypothesis that racial differences in age-related changes in mean levels of functional health (i.e., self-care capacity and physical functioning) are age dependent, but do not find support for the hypothesis that social class fully accounts for racial differences in functional status change.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)536-553
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Aging and Health
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 1993
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Race, Aging, and Functional Health'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this