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ethnicity are critical determinants of the residential segregation and social stratification that characterize American society. The relatively unique social experiences and conditions of racial and ethnic sub-populations may lead to important variations in the personal and social resources that are accumulated throughout life. Thus, to the extent that they affect age-related health and well-being, variations in these resources may be an important aspect of understanding and alleviating ethnic disparities in late-life health.


For the purpose of this chapter, we will conceptualize social and personal resources as a series of assets that accrue to individuals as a result of their linkages or interactions with other individuals. The focus will be on those resources that have received the attention of social gerontologists and that are hypothesized to be associated with tangible health benefits. Investigation of these resources may help us to achieve a deeper understanding of the origins of health disparities across race/ethnic lines in late life. Figure 10-1 presents

FIGURE 10-1 Conceptual model of the impact of personal resources on health outcomes.

SOURCES: House (1987), Pearlin (1985), and Link and Phelan (1995).

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