2015–16 Pilot Projects

Health Trajectories in Older Adults

PIs: Eva Dugoff, assistant professor, population health sciences
Abstract: Two out of three older adults in the United States are living with two or more chronic conditions. Research shows that as the number of chronic conditions increases, so too does the complexity of care, health care spending, and adverse health outcomes. Few studies have sought to address how the relationship between multimorbidity and health may vary by the combination of conditions. Our project will examine differences in the order in which conditions are accumulated and study the dynamics of multiple chronic conditions among older adults in the Medicare program and the implications of different health trajectories on health spending and life expectancy. We hope to address an urgent need for better information on the consequences of multiple chronic conditions to inform the development of clinically and culturally tailored interventions, clinical trial design, payment models, and health system planning.

Determinants of Telomere Length in the Health and Retirement Study

PI: Jason Fletcher, associate professor of La Follette School of Public Affairs, sociology, and applied economics
Abstract: Research findings relating telomere length to longevity and health in general are somewhat contradictory and inconsistent, but most of them are based on small samples of individuals and with limited information. Our project will investigate the relation between telomere length, onset of chronic diseases and mortality in the Health and Retirement Study. This large population study contains rich information on individuals life histories and may help to elucidate aspects that are obscured by inappropriate sample size or ancillary information.

Uncovering the Relationship between Interviewer-Respondent Interaction and Compliance in the Collection of Anthropometric Measures and Physical Performance Assessments

PIs: Jennifer Dykema, senior scientist/survey methodologist, University of Wisconsin Survey Center
Dana Garbarski, assistant professor, sociology, Loyola University Chicago
Nora Cate Schaeffer, Sewell-Bascom Professor, sociology and director, University of Wisconsin Survey Center
Kerryann DiLoreto, University of Wisconsin Survey Center
Kenneth D. Croes, senior project director, University of Wisconsin Survey Center
Abstract: While biomeasures, including anthropometric measures, physical performance assessments, biological materials, and genetic measures, are increasingly collected along with survey responses in household surveys, more research is needed to determine respondents’ willingness to provide these measures, what factors influence participation, and what barriers impeded successful collection. This study aims to understand how the interviewer influences both consent to participate in anthropometric measurement tasks and the mechanisms by which interviewer effects are introduced into the resulting measures. In addition, interaction during the request and the measurement task will be examined to predict compliance with subsequent requests.