Background: Although several studies have demonstrated the associations between lifetime cumulative adversity and late-life physical health, many of them were conducted at a single time point and examined events that occurred in childhood only. Less is known about the effect of lifelong adversity on the aging process over time. This study aimed to investigate the impact of cumulative adversity on the accelerated deterioration in health over time - mobility limitation and self-rated state of health in old age. Methods: This study provides a 14-year, 6-time-point follow-up on a representative sample of Europeans using the SHARE Project - longitudinal survey panel. The sample included a total of 7195 respondents aged 65 and older from nine countries in Europe. The outcome measurements were the number of mobility limitations and self-rated health – trajectories along 6 measurements. The independent variable was Lifetime Cumulative Adversity, and the analyses included also control variables – age, gender, socioeconomic status, depression, and country. Results: Time-based Latent Growth Curve Modeling has demonstrated that the effects of Lifetime Cumulative Adversity were significant on both health measures, by means of the intercepts and the slopes: Greater experience of adversities correlated with a higher physical health impairment at baseline and a higher decline along time. The effects of self-rated health were weaker than the effects of mobility limitations. Conclusions: Given that the populations of numerous countries are rapidly aging, understanding the risk factors associated with health deterioration is important, especially for policymakers and medical health care experts, to raise awareness of the relationship between lifelong adversity and health decline and to build preventive interventions to deal with these consequences.
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© 2021 Elsevier Ltd
- Cumulative adversity
- Mobility limitations
- Self-rated health