Assessing Longitudinal Relationships between Social Factors and Health

Philip S. Brenner, Philip S., and Erica Siegl
Working paper no. 2008-11


Promoting the good health of an aging citizenry is a major research priority in the United States.  This study contributes to this research agenda by examining the health benefits conferred by social support, social participation, and religiosity.  Using cross-sectional and longitudinal ordinal logistic regression models, we test the effects of these variables on self-reported health in the two most recent waves of the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study.  We find that benefits of social participation persisted in our full models but with a good deal of gender discrepancy.  However, in sharp contrast to previous research, we find no evidence to support the universal health benefit to religious engagement.