Ethnic disparities in disability among middle-aged and older israeli adults: the role of socioeconomic disadvantage and traumatic life events

Osman A, Walsemann KM.  University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC 29208, USA.  J Aging Health. 2013 Apr;25(3):510-31. doi: 10.1177/0898264313478653.

OBJECTIVE: We examined the contribution of socioeconomic disadvantage and traumatic life events to ethnic disparities in disability among Israeli adults.

METHOD: We used data from the Survey of Health, Aging and Retirement in Europe (SHARE-Israel), a sample of Israeli adults aged 50 or older (N = 1,546). Disability measures included functional limitations, limitations in activities of daily living (ADL), and limitations in instrumental activities of daily living (IADL).

RESULTS: Arabs and immigrants from the Former Soviet Union (FSU) experienced higher rates of functional limitations and limitations in IADLs compared to veteran Jews. The rate of having limitations in ADLs was similar for Arabs and veteran Jews, but was higher for FSU immigrants compared to veteran Jews. Inclusion of education, income, and traumatic life events attenuated, but did not eliminate ethnic disparities in disability.

DISCUSSION: Identifying factors driving ethnic health disparities in Israel is imperative if we hope to achieve health equity.