Control beliefs and risk for 4-year mortality in older adults: a prospective cohort study.

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2017-01

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Abstract

Background

Control beliefs are important psychological factors that likely contribute to heterogeneity in health outcomes for older adults. We evaluated whether control beliefs are associated with risk for 4-year mortality, after accounting for established "classic" biomedical risk factors. We also determined if an enhanced risk model with control beliefs improved identification of individuals with low vs. high mortality risk.

Methods

We used nationally representative data from the Health and Retirement Study (2006-2012) for adults 50 years or older in 2006 (n = 7313) or 2008 (n = 6301). We assessed baseline perceived global control (measured as 2 dimensions-"constraints" and "mastery"), and health-specific control. We also obtained baseline data for 12 established biomedical risk factors of 4-year mortality: age, sex, 4 medical conditions (diabetes mellitus, cancer, lung disease and heart failure), body mass index less than 25 kg/m2, smoking, and 4 functional difficulties (with bathing, managing finances, walking several blocks and pushing or pulling heavy objects). Deaths within 4 years of follow-up were determined through interviews with respondents' family and the National Death Index.

Results

After accounting for classic biomedical risk factors, perceived constraints were significantly associated with higher mortality risk (third quartile scores odds ratio [OR] 1.37, 95% CI 1.03-1.81; fourth quartile scores OR 1.45, 95% CI, 1.09-1.92), while health-specific control was significantly associated with lower risk (OR 0.69-0.78 for scores above first quartile). Higher perceived mastery scores were not consistently associated with decreased risk. The enhanced model with control beliefs found an additional 3.5% of participants (n = 222) with low predicted risk of 4-year mortality (i.e., 4% or less); observed mortality for these individuals was 1.8% during follow-up. Compared with participants predicted to have low mortality risk only by the classic biomedical model, individuals identified by only the enhanced model were older, had higher educational status, higher income, and higher prevalence of diabetes mellitus and cancer.

Conclusion

Control beliefs were significantly associated with risk for 4-year mortality; accounting for these factors improved identification of low-risk individuals. More work is needed to determine how assessment of control beliefs could enable targeting of clinical interventions to support at-risk older adults.

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Published Version (Please cite this version)

10.1186/s12877-016-0390-3

Publication Info

Duan-Porter, Wei, Susan Nicole Hastings, Brian Neelon and Courtney Harold Van Houtven (2017). Control beliefs and risk for 4-year mortality in older adults: a prospective cohort study. BMC geriatrics, 17(1). p. 13. 10.1186/s12877-016-0390-3 Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/26162.

This is constructed from limited available data and may be imprecise. To cite this article, please review & use the official citation provided by the journal.

Scholars@Duke

Hastings

Susan Nicole Hastings

Professor of Medicine
Van Houtven

Courtney Harold Van Houtven

Professor in Population Health Sciences

Dr. Courtney Van Houtven is a Professor in The Department of Population Health Science, Duke University School of Medicine and Duke-Margolis Center for Health Policy. She is also a Research Career Scientist in The Center of Innovation to Accelerate Discovery and Practice Transformation (ADAPT), Durham Veterans Affairs Health Care System. Dr. Van Houtven’s aging and economics research interests encompass long-term care financing, intra-household decision-making, unpaid family and friend care, and home- and community-based services. She examines how family caregiving affects health care utilization, expenditures, health and work outcomes of care recipients and caregivers. She is also interested in understanding how best to support family caregivers to optimize caregiver and care recipient outcomes.

Dr. Van Houtven  is co-PI on the QUERI Program Project, “Optimizing Function and Independence”, in which her caregiver skills training program developed as an RCT in VA, now called Caregivers FIRST, has been implemented at 125 VA sites nationally. The team will evaluate how intensification of an implementation strategy changes adoption. She directs the VA-CARES Evaluation Center, which evaluates the VA’s Caregiver Support Program. She leads a mixed methods R01 study as PI from the National Institute on Aging that will assess the value of "home time" for persons living with dementia and their caregivers (RF1 AG072364).


Areas of expertise: Health Services Research and Health Economics


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