Higher personal mastery is associated with better physical functioning, wellbeing, and longevity among older populations. However, few studies have focused on whether personal mastery is protective against mortality among older adults living with diabetes over time.
A total of 1,779 participants were identified from an off-year survey of the Health and Retirement Study. Proportional Hazard Models were used to evaluate the significance of selected variables in predicting the survival of participants over a 13-year period.
A substantial proportion (46.7%) of the diabetic patients had survived by the end of 2016. Adults with lower mastery scores were more likely to die (Hazard Ratio = .94, p < .001). Gender differences in the association patterns between personal mastery and survival were identified. Personal mastery had an independent health-protective effect on the survival of diabetes patients over the study period. With lower educational attainment, the foreign-born female diabetics scored higher in personal mastery measure when compared to their male counterparts. In the face of more severe diabetes comorbidity, foreign-born female diabetics also outlived their male counterparts over the study period.
As a crucial psychological resource and a modifiable factor, personal mastery holds a potential for improving the health status among lower SES groups of older adults. Further investigations into the identified gender difference could be applied to break the cycle of poor health among lower Socio-Economic Status groups of older adults.
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