Pilot Projects

Through the center grant from the National Institute on Aging, CDHA is able to provide financial support to affiliates who are developing innovative projects likely to receive federal funding.

Current Projects

GENE-ENVIRONMENT INTERACTIONS RELATED TO OLD AGE COGNITION AND COGNITIVE DECLINE

PI: Jason Fletcher, Professor, La Follette School of Public Affairs, Sociology, Applied Economics
Abstract:  The restricted Health and Retirement Study (HRS) data will be used to examine interactions between specific environment conditions and polygenic scores related to cognition in old age. HRS is a nationally representative longitudinal study of aging of individuals born 1931-1941 and their spouses. It has collected data on the aging process by focusing on health, work, family, and related domains. HRS’ polygenic scores for cognition, Alzheimer’s disease, education, and other related phenotypes can contribute to our investigation on how genetic predispositions interact with early disease environments, various exposure to pollution, and the Great Depression.

SOCIAL DETERMINANTS OF HEALTH AND WELLBEING AT OLDER AGES

PI: Stephanie Robert, Professor, Social Work
Abstract: This project will examine how SES, race/ethnicity, and neighborhood context impact the health outcomes of older adults, or of adults over the life course.  Will associating them with urban/suburban/rural residence predict health trajectories and transitions out of community residence for older adults?  Research will be conducted using restricted data from the National Health and Aging Trends Survey (NHATS), a nationally representative sample of Medicare recipients ages 65 and older, with oversamples of black older adults and the oldest old. NHATS includes both community-dwelling older adults and those living in facilities. We will follow respondents’ transitions into nursing home, assisted living, or remaining in the community. In addition, we will link caregivers’ data in the National Study of Caregiving (NSOC), a complementary study for members in NHATS to look at urban/rural/suburban differences in informal and formal support networks in the community and in non-community residences.

WORK AND COGNITION AT OLDER AGES: DO OCCUPATIONS MATTER?

PI: Lindsay Jacobs, Assistant Professor, La Follette School of Public Affairs

Abstract:  This pilot will study work patterns on cognition and wellbeing across occupations and over respondents’ life course.  This project plans to connect Job attributes in O*Net data to Wisconsin Longitudinal Study (WLS) respondents’ occupations over the years. WLS is a long-term study of a random sample of 10,317 men and women who graduated from Wisconsin high schools in 1957. The WLS data provides an opportunity to adequately account for selection into occupations earlier in life and any causal effects of occupation on later life outcomes. 

THE DEMOGRAPHY OF ISOLATION AT OLDER AGES

PI: James M. Raymo, Professor of Sociology

Abstract:  This project is designed to generate population-based information about the experience of social isolation at older ages and the complex relationships between health and social isolation. It will identify measures of isolation in the Health and Retirement Study (HRS), National Survey of the Japanese Elderly (NSJE) and Survey of Health, Ageing, and Retirement in Europe (SHARE).  How demographic attributes like age, sex, educational attainment, area of residence, marital status, number of children, and health contribute to the prevalence and duration of isolation at older ages in a cross-country frame work.