Accumulated financial strain and women's health over three decades

Tetyana Pylypiv Shippee, Lindsay R. Wilkinson, Kenneth F. Ferraro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


Objective.Drawing from cumulative inequality theory, this research examines how accumulated financial strain affects women's self-rated health in middle and later life. Method. Using data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Mature Women (19672003), we employ random-coefficient growth curve models to examine whether recurring financial strain influences women's health, above and beyond several measures of objective social status. Predicted probabilities of poor health were estimated by the frequency of financial strain.Results. Financial strain is associated with rapid declines in women's health during middle and later life, especially for those women who reported recurrent strain. Changes in household income and household wealth were also associated with women's health but did not eliminate the effects due to accumulated financial strain. Discussion. Accumulated financial strain has long-term effects on women's health during middle and later life. The findings demonstrate the importance of measuring life course exposure to stressors in studies of health trajectories.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)585-594
Number of pages10
JournalJournals of Gerontology - Series B Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences
Volume67 B
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2012

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding Support for this research was provided by the Fessler-Lampert Chair on Aging, university of Minnesota Center on Aging, and National Center for Research Resources of the National Institutes of Health to the university of Minnesota Clinical and Translational Science Institute (1uL1RR033183) to Dr. Shippee. Support was provided by the National Institute on Aging (T32AG025671) and the Purdue university Center on Aging and the Life Course to L. R. Wilkinson and K. F. Ferraro.


  • Cumulative Inequality Theory
  • Cumulative advantage/disadvantage theory
  • Economic hardship
  • Life course
  • Multi-level models
  • Stress


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