Chapter

How Do the Better Educated Do It? Socioeconomic Status and the Ability to Cope with Underlying Impairment

David M. Cutler and Mary Beth Landrum

in Developments in the Economics of Aging

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print April 2009 | ISBN: 9780226903354
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226903361 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226903361.003.0007
How Do the Better Educated Do It? Socioeconomic Status and the Ability to Cope with Underlying Impairment

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This chapter examines how elderly people in different socioeconomic groups cope with disability in performing basic personal care activities, including dressing, bathing, and getting around inside, and activities required to live independently, such as preparing meals, grocery shopping, and managing money. It considers two primary issues. It shows that while the majority of socioeconomic differences in disability can be attributed to differences in underlying functioning—the better off have much less difficulty with these measures even in the absence of help—coping is important as well. In other words, the better educated are less likely to have functional disabilities in the first place, and cope with them better when they occur. The second part of the study analyzes how people cope with impairments, how coping strategies vary by education, and whether the use of personal help and technological aids are important for successful coping. On these issues, the study finds that better-educated people use substantially more assistive technology and are more likely to use paid help than people with less education.

Keywords: socioeconomic status; elderly; disability; coping strategies; educational attainment; impairment

Chapter.  15815 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Public Economics

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