The impact of veteran status on life-space mobility among older black and white men in the deep south

Academic Article


  • Objective: To examine life-space mobility over 8.5 years among older Black and White male veterans and non-veterans in the Deep South. Design: A prospective longitudinal study of community-dwelling Black and White male adults aged >65 years (N=501; mean age=74.9; 50% Black and 50% White) enrolled in the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) Study of Aging. Data from baseline in-home assessments with followup telephone assessments of life-space mobility completed every 6 months were used in linear mixed-effects modeling analyses to examine life-space mobility trajectories. Main outcome measure: Life-space mobility. Results: In comparison to veterans, nonveterans were more likely to be Black, single, and live in rural areas. They also reported lower income and education. Veterans had higher baseline life-space (73.7 vs 64.9 for non-veterans; P<.001). Race-veteran subgroup analyses revealed significant differences in demographics, comorbidity, cognition, and physical function. Relative to Black veterans, there were significantly greater declines in life-space trajectories for White non-veterans (P=.009), but not for White veterans (P=.807) nor Black non-veterans (P=.633). Mortality at 8.5 years was 43.5% for veterans and 49.5% for non-veterans (P=.190) with no significant differences by race-veteran status. Conclusions: Veterans had significantly higher baseline life-space mobility. There were significantly greater declines in lifespace trajectories for White non-veterans in comparison to other race-veteran subgroups. Black veterans and non-veterans did not have significantly different trajectories.
  • Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • McCaskill GM; Sawyer P; Burgio KL; Kennedy R; Williams CP; Clay OJ; Brown CJ; Allman RM
  • Start Page

  • 255
  • End Page

  • 262
  • Volume

  • 25
  • Issue

  • 3