The objective was to examine gender differences and similarities in health, function, familial and non-familial social networks; longitudinal resilience in those factors; and their association with risk of mortality in Israeli men and women aged 75-94. We used the Cross-Sectional and Longitudinal Aging Study (CALAS), a stratified random sample of 960 Israeli Jews aged 75-94, drawn on January 1, 1989 from National Population Registry, stratified by gender, age (75-79, 80-84, 85-89, 90-94), and place of birth (Europe/America, Middle East/North Africa, Israel), interviewed twice (Wave 1, 1989-1992; Wave 2, 1993-1995); Wave 1 values and longitudinal resilience predicted the 1999 mortality risk for those alive at both waves. Gender differences and similarities were found at Wave 1 in longitudinal resilience and in risk factors for mortality, partially supporting a gender paradox. Men were more physically active, had better cognition, gave more help to children, relied less on paid caretakers, and attended synagogue more than women, factors associated with better health and functioning. Women had poorer health and functional status and more help from children. More physical activity, synagogue attendance, and resilience in activities of daily living (ADL) were associated with lower risk of mortality for both genders. Women's risk of mortality was reduced by smoking reduction and higher cognitive vitality, and men's by emotional support and solitary leisure activity. Both men and women were resilient, yet there were differences. Gender-neutral mortality reduction programs would include physical activity, religious services, maintenance and improvement of ADL, and engaging in solitary leisure activities; for women, smoking cessation and cognitively challenging activities; and for men, maintaining or increasing emotional ties.
- Gender paradox
- Longitudinal studies