How Does Use of ‘Special’ Equipment Affect the Black-White Gap in Active Life Expectancy

J. Scott Brown, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Scott M. Lynch, Princeton University

Health differences between whites and blacks in the United States have been well documented. While considerable research has found black disadvantage in self-rated health, mortality, and disability, less work has examined the role of equipment use in this health comparison. We examine race differences in active life expectancy (ALE) and disabled life expectancy (DLE) by focusing on differences between these groups by their use/non-use of special equipment. We examine differences in each ADL-specific ALE and DLE using a Bayesian life-table approach. This method includes the ability to compute life expectancies with empirical intervals that allow for direct statistical comparison of group differences. Our initial findings indicate that the use of special equipment does inform the observed black-white differences in ALE and DLE. These findings vary by the particular ADL being examined and by gender. Implications regarding future research on race differences in health and implications for health policy are discussed.

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Presented in Session 79: Advances in Healthy Life Expectancy Research