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01-04-2016 | Uitgave 4/2016

Quality of Life Research 4/2016

Indicators of resilience and healthcare outcomes: findings from the 2010 health and retirement survey

Quality of Life Research > Uitgave 4/2016
Amara E. Ezeamama, Jennifer Elkins, Cherie Simpson, Shaniqua L. Smith, Joseph C. Allegra, Toni P. Miles
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The online version of this article (doi:10.​1007/​s11136-015-1144-y) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
A. Ezeamama and J. Elkins equally share first author status.



To test the hypothesis that higher levels of resilience indicators are associated with lower overall healthcare utilization (HCU) as well as improvements in self-rated health (SRH), we analyzed a representative sample of 4562 adults 50–70 years old enrolled in the US 2010 health and retirement survey.


Multivariable logistic regression models estimated odds ratios (ORs) and 95 % confidence intervals (CIs) for high versus low resilience in relation to HCU and SRH improvements over 2 years. Resilience indicators included: cumulative lifetime adversity, social support, global mastery and domain-specific mastery. Cumulative lifetime adversity was defined as 0, 1–2, 3–4 or 5+ events. HCU included hospitalization (any vs. none) and physician visits (<20 vs. ≥20) over 2 years.


Hospitalization odds declined by 25 % (OR 0.75, 95 %CI 0.64–0.86), odds of ≥20 physician visits declined by 47 % (OR 0.53, 95 % CI 0.45–0.63) and the odds of SRH improvement increased by 49 % (OR 1.49, 95 % CI 1.17–1.88) for respondents with high versus low health mastery. Cumulative lifetime adversity manifested a dose-dependent positive relationship with HCU. Specifically, hospitalization odds was, respectively, 25, 80 and 142 % elevated for participants that reported 1–2, 3–4 and 5+ versus 0 lifetime adversities. High versus low global, financial and health mastery, respectively, predicted improved SRH, lower physician’s visits and hospitalizations.


In this sample of adults near or in retirement, resilience predicted lower HCU and improved SRH. Resilience is a dynamic state that can be enhanced in adults with positive impacts on subjective well-being and HCU.

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