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This study used social engagement theory to examine the relationship between attending worship services and the trajectories of physical decline among Mexican American elders. Data for this study came from eight waves of the Hispanic Established Populations for the Epidemiologic Studies of the Elderly (H-EPESE), a representative panel study of Hispanic elders across five states conducted from 1992-2006. First, linear growth curve models were used to examine the cross-sectional and longitudinal association between attending worship services and physical limitations. Findings from this study highlighted the independent affect of attending worship services at baseline for reducing the onset and development of physical disability among Mexican American elders. Second, this dissertation explored if gender moderated the association between attending worship services and physical disability at baseline and over time. Findings from this dissertation suggest that the health benefit of attending worship services varies across gender. At baseline, attending worship services protected against health limitations among women but not for men. Over time, baseline attendance at worship services tended to benefit men more than women.
A Dissertation submitted to the Department of Sociology in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Includes bibliographical references.
Jill Quadagno, Professor Directing Dissertation; Patrick Mason, University Representative; Amy Burdette, Committee Member; Koji Ueno, Committee Member.
Florida State University
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