Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Perceived age, weight discrimination worse for health than perceived racism, sexism

Date:
May 6, 2014
Source:
Florida State University
Summary:
Perceived age and weight discrimination, more than perceived race and sex discrimination, are linked to worse health in older adults, according to new research. "Our previous research showed that perceived discrimination based on body weight was associated with risk of obesity. We wanted to see whether this association extended to other health indicators and types of discrimination," said lead author of the study.

Perceived age and weight discrimination, more than perceived race and sex discrimination, are linked to worse health in older adults, according to new research from the Florida State University College of Medicine.

The findings are part of a study measuring changes in health over a four-year period and published in the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry.

"Our previous research showed that perceived discrimination based on body weight was associated with risk of obesity. We wanted to see whether this association extended to other health indicators and types of discrimination," said lead author Angelina Sutin, assistant professor of behavioral sciences and social medicine.

"What we found was unexpected and striking."

Sutin and colleagues found that older adults who perceived weight discrimination and older adults who perceived discrimination based on age, a physical disability or other aspect of appearance had significantly lower physical and emotional health and greater declines in health compared to people who did not report experiencing such discrimination.

In contrast, perceived discrimination based on relatively fixed characteristics -- race, sex, ancestry and sexual orientation -- were largely unrelated to declines in physical and emotional health for the older adults.

The findings are based on a sample of more than 6,000 adults who participated in the Health and Retirement Study, a study of Americans ages 50 and older and their spouses. Participants reported on their physical, emotional and cognitive health in 2006 and 2010 and also reported on their perceived experiences with discrimination.

"We know how harmful discrimination based race and sex can be, so we were surprised that perceived discrimination based on more malleable characteristics like age and weight had a more pervasive effect on health than discrimination based on these more fixed characteristics," Sutin said.

The one exception was loneliness.

Loneliness was the most widespread health consequence of discrimination among older adults. Discrimination based on every characteristic assessed in Sutin's study was associated with greater feelings of loneliness. According to previous studies, the effects of chronic loneliness are severe: increased risk for unhealthy behaviors, sleep disturbances, cardiovascular risk factors and suicide.

"Humans have a strong need to belong, and people often feel distressed when they do not have their desired social relationships," Sutin said. "Our research suggests that perceiving a hostile society is associated with pervasive feelings of loneliness. An individual may interpret discrimination as an indication that they do not fit in the society in which they live."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Florida State University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Angelina R. Sutin, Yannick Stephan, Henry Carretta, Antonio Terracciano. Perceived Discrimination and Physical, Cognitive, and Emotional Health in OlderAdulthood. The American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 2014; DOI: 10.1016/j.jagp.2014.03.007

Cite This Page:

Florida State University. "Perceived age, weight discrimination worse for health than perceived racism, sexism." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 May 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140506190543.htm>.
Florida State University. (2014, May 6). Perceived age, weight discrimination worse for health than perceived racism, sexism. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140506190543.htm
Florida State University. "Perceived age, weight discrimination worse for health than perceived racism, sexism." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140506190543.htm (accessed August 29, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Friday, August 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Treadmill 'trips' May Reduce Falls for Elderly

Treadmill 'trips' May Reduce Falls for Elderly

AP (Aug. 28, 2014) Scientists are tripping the elderly on purpose in a Chicago lab in an effort to better prevent seniors from falling and injuring themselves in real life. (Aug.28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Alice in Wonderland Syndrome

Alice in Wonderland Syndrome

Ivanhoe (Aug. 27, 2014) It’s an unusual condition with a colorful name. Kids with “Alice in Wonderland” syndrome see sudden distortions in objects they’re looking at or their own bodies appear to change size, a lot like the main character in the Lewis Carroll story. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Stopping Schizophrenia Before Birth

Stopping Schizophrenia Before Birth

Ivanhoe (Aug. 27, 2014) Scientists have long called choline a “brain booster” essential for human development. Not only does it aid in memory and learning, researchers now believe choline could help prevent mental illness. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Personalized Brain Vaccine for Glioblastoma

Personalized Brain Vaccine for Glioblastoma

Ivanhoe (Aug. 27, 2014) Glioblastoma is the most common and aggressive brain cancer in humans. Now a new treatment using the patient’s own tumor could help slow down its progression and help patients live longer. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins