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Ethnic/Race Differences in the Attrition of Older American Survey Respondents: Implications for Health-Related Research

Keywords: Attrition; race; ethnicity; health; insurance; health status.

Objective: To compare models of attrition across race/ethnic groups of aging populations and discuss implications for health-related research.

Data Sources: The Health and Retirement Study (1992–2008).

Study Design: A competing risks model was estimated using a multinomial logit model when respondents faced competing types of risks, such as dying, being lost from the study, and nonresponse in some years for different groups of elderly. Key explanatory variables were foreign birth, health insurance, and health status.

Principal Findings: Variables describing foreign birth, health insurance, and health status differed in their prediction of attrition across ethnic groups of aging populations.

Conclusions: Differences in the predictors of attrition across ethnic groups of elderly could potentially lead to biased estimates in health-related research using longitudinal data sources.

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