Financial strain and changes in late-life health over 18 years: Buffering effects of social resources

Research output: Contribution to journalMeeting Abstractpeer-review


This study examined associations of financial hardship with between-person differences, and longitudinal changes in health over 18 years among 1477 older adult men (n = 928) and women (n = 549) in the Australian Longitudinal Study of Aging (Mage = 79.6, SD = 6.5). A particular focus was on whether functional social network resources (supportive network size, network satisfaction, and confidant availability) buffered negative associations of financial hardship with health. In light of established gender differences in the nature and function of social relations, we also considered whether buffering effects of social network resources operated differently for men and women. Measures of health status included functional ability, self-rated health, and grip strength. Growth models indicated average declines in health over time, with significant variability in rates of change for each measure. Analysis of between person differences revealed that financial strain and lower levels of satisfaction with social networks were associated with poorer functional ability, self-rated health, and grip strength. Few associations of financial strain or social resources with within-person rates of change in health were evident. The availability of larger supportive networks buffered against the negative effects of financial strain on functional disability and self-rated health. Among those with higher levels of financial strain, not having a confidant was associated with steeper declines in self-rated health. Buffering effects did not vary as a function of gender. The findings are generally consistent with a growing literature indicating that diverse and supportive social relationships provide a key resource for aging well.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)296
Number of pages1
JournalThe Gerontologist
Issue numberSuppl. 2
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2015
EventGerontological Society of America 68th Annual Scientific Meeting - Orlando, United States
Duration: 18 Nov 201522 Nov 2015


  • financial hardship
  • Financial strain
  • health
  • social resources
  • social relationships
  • self-rated health
  • social relations


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