Correlates of Social Function

A Comparison of a Black and a White Sample of Older Persons in Los Angeles

Published in: Journal of Applied Gerontology, v. 22, no. 1, Mar. 2003, p. 3-18

Posted on RAND.org on January 01, 2003

by William Cunningham, Ron D. Hays, Tanya Burton, David Reuben, Raynard Kington

Read More

Access further information on this document at jag.sagepub.com

This article was published outside of RAND. The full text of the article can be found at the link above.

This study compares social functioning between one Black (n = 560) and one White (n = 1350) urban, community-based sample of older persons in Los Angeles. A 3-item social function scale that assessed visiting with family and friends, participating in community activities, and taking care of other people was administered; the instrument also assessed basic activities of daily living (BADL) and intermediate activities of daily living (IADL). In multivariate analysis, social function was substantially higher for Blacks than for Whites, although BADL and IADL scores were somewhat lower for Blacks. BADLS, IADLS, being male, and being married were positively associated with social function among Blacks; IADLS, owning a home, and history of falls were negatively associated with social function among Whites. The high social function of Black, despite more physical limitations, suggests that even physically impaired Black older persons in the South Central Los Angeles community may remain actively involved in the family and community.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation External publication series. Many RAND studies are published in peer-reviewed scholarly journals, as chapters in commercial books, or as documents published by other organizations.

Our mission to help improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis is enabled through our core values of quality and objectivity and our unwavering commitment to the highest level of integrity and ethical behavior. To help ensure our research and analysis are rigorous, objective, and nonpartisan, we subject our research publications to a robust and exacting quality-assurance process; avoid both the appearance and reality of financial and other conflicts of interest through staff training, project screening, and a policy of mandatory disclosure; and pursue transparency in our research engagements through our commitment to the open publication of our research findings and recommendations, disclosure of the source of funding of published research, and policies to ensure intellectual independence. For more information, visit www.rand.org/about/principles.

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.