Successful Aging Among LGBT Older Adults: Physical and Mental Health-Related Quality of Life by Age Group

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Purpose: Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people are a health disparate population as identified in Healthy People 2020. Yet, there has been limited attention to how LGBT older adults maintain successful aging despite the adversity they face. Utilizing a Resilience Framework, this study investigates the relationship between physical and mental health-related quality of life (QOL) and covariates by age group. Design and Methods: A cross-sectional survey of LGBT adults aged 50 and older (N = 2,560) was conducted by Caring and Aging with Pride: The National Health, Aging, and Sexuality Study via collaborations with 11 sites across the U.S. Linear regression analyses tested specified relationships and moderating effects of age groups (aged 50‰ÛÒ64; 65‰ÛÒ79; 80 and older). Results: Physical and mental health QOL were negatively associated with discrimination and chronic conditions and positively with social support, social network size, physical and leisure activities, substance nonuse, employment, income, and being male when controlling for age and other covariates. Mental health QOL was also positively associated with positive sense of sexual identity and negatively with sexual identity disclosure. Important differences by age group emerged and for the old‰ÛÒold age group the influence of discrimination was particularly salient. Implications: This is the first study to examine physical and mental health QOL, as an indicator of successful aging, among LGBT older adults. An understanding of the configuration of resources and risks by age group is important for the development of aging and health initiatives tailored for this growing population.

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The Gerontologist

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