BackgroundMost research has focused on definitions and predictors of successful aging. However, racial/ethnic minorities are often under represented in this research. Given that the U.S. population is aging and becoming more racially diverse, we examined correlates of "successful aging," as defined by physical functioning and overall quality of life (QOL), among racial/ethnic minority women aged 80 years and older in the Women's Health Initiative.
MethodsParticipants included 1,924 racial/ethnic minority women (African Americans, Asian/Pacific Islanders, Hispanic/Latinos, and American Indian/Alaskan Natives) 80 years of age and older who are enrolled in the Women's Health Initiative and have physical functioning data after turning 80 years of age. Analysis of covariance was used to examine between and within group differences in physical functioning and selfrated overall QOL for African Americans, Asian/Pacific Islanders, and Hispanic/Latinos.
ResultsWe found no significant differences in physical functioning between racial/ethnic minority groups in adjusted analyses. However, overall QOL was significantly different between racial/ethnic minority groups. Age, recreational physical activity, and overall selfrated health were independent correlates of physical functioning across racial/ethnic minority groups, whereas overall selfrated health was the only consistent correlate of overall QOL across the minority groups for the within minority group comparisons.
ConclusionsBetween racial/ethnic minority group differences in physical functioning are largely explained by demographic, psychosocial, behavioral, and health-related variables. We found statistically significant differences in selfrated overall QOL between racial/ethnic minority groups.