Objectives. This study compares determinants of a sense of mastery in African American and White older adults, Methods. The association between predictor variables (sociodemogmphic variables, health conditions, social resources, and religiosity) and feelings of mastery was assessed by using representative community-dwelling samples of 250 African American (mean age = 71.6) and 452 White (mean age = 73.0) older adults. Results. African American older adults had a lower sense of mastery than White older adults. Significant modification by race was found in the associations of age, self-rated health, and religiosity with feelings of mastery. The negative effects of old age and poor health on feelings of mastery were stronger in the White sample, whereas the positive effect of religiosity on feelings of mastery was observed only in the African American sample. Discussion. Although African American older adults had a lower sense of mastery than Whites, their feelings of mastery were less likely to be diminished by old age and poor health and more likely to be enhanced by religiosity. Possible explanations for cross-racial differences are discussed, as are implications.
|Journals of Gerontology - Series B Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences
|Published - Jul 2003