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Determinants of mortality at older ages: the role of biological markers

Cassio M. Turra, Princeton University
Noreen Goldman, Princeton University
Christopher L. Seplaki, Princeton University
Dana A. Glei, University of California, Berkeley
Yu-Hsuan Lin, Bureau of Health Promotion, Taiwan
Maxine Weinstein, Georgetown University

Determinants of mortality have been an object of interest since the first studies of mortality were published in the 17th century. Recently, the availability of microlevel data has led to studies investigating the importance of self-reported health measures to adult mortality. Still, considerable uncertainty remains about the adequacy of self-reported health measures as determinants of mortality. In this paper, we aim to bridge this gap in the literature by examining the association between clinically assessed information on biomarkers and mortality among middle-aged and elderly adults. Using population-representative data from a national survey collected in Taiwan and binary logistic regression models, our paper examines how much additional variance in mortality can be explained by adding physiological parameters to demographers’ conventional models of mortality determinants at older ages. Our preliminary results suggest that biomarkers are significantly associated with mortality, even in the presence of controls for demographic, socioeconomic and self-reported health measures.

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Presented in Session 112: Biomarkers, health and demographic research