The moderating role of employment status and gender on relationships between psychological age and health: A two-wave cross-lagged panel analysis of data from the health and retirement study
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© The Author(s) 2017. In this study we explored the direction of over-time relationships between psychological age (PA) and 4 facets of health for older adults, with social comparison theory (SCT) and stereotype embodiment theory (SET) providing the rationale for competing causal orderings of these relationships. Expanding on recent longitudinal work (Petery, 2015; Spuling, Miche, Wurm, & Wahl, 2013) we investigated whether over-time employment status (employed, transition to retired, retired), gender, and the interaction of employment status and gender moderate the nature of these relationships for older (over 50 years old) adults. We examined data on PA and indicators of general, functional, physical, and mental health from the Health and Retirement Study collected at 2 time points, 4 years apart. Hypothesis testing on the causal ordering of the 2 constructs and the proposed moderations were conducted, with each health facet examined independently using cross-lagged panel path analysis and multigroup analysis of employment by gender subgroups. Effect sizes for relationships between PA and health were small in magnitude for all health facets and all employment status and gender subgroups. The apparent primary causal direction of relationships differed by health facet, with support provided for both Health ? PA and PA ? Health temporal orderings. Furthermore, with the exception of physical health, which exhibited consistent support for a Health ? PA relationship, the primary causal direction of the relationship between PA and health depended on both employment status and gender, jointly. These provide further evidence of the complexity of the health-PA relationship.
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