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New study project will examine the "well-being paradox"

Mar 19, 2020

Maureen and Carly

Photo above: Dr. Maureen Markle-Reid (Professor and Canada Research Chair, SON) and Carly Whitmore (PhD student and Vanier Canada Scholar, SON)  

It’s called the “well-being paradox”. Despite having many chronic conditions, some older adults continue to describe their health in positive ways. They can bounce-back from health challenges. This resilience may increase health and support healthy aging.  

What explains this phenomenon? And how might understanding it help researchers design effective programs and policies to promote health among other older adults?

These are some of the questions that a team of scholars led by nursing professor Dr. Maureen Markle-Reid and PhD student Carly Whitmore will address in a new study. This project was just awarded funding from a CIHR Catalyst Grant which will support part of Carly’s dissertation work. The team will analyse data found in the Canadian Longitudinal Study in Aging (CLSA) Data set.

Whitmore is completing a mixed methodological study using CLSA data and the funding from this Catalyst Grant will support the first component of her dissertation research. “To date, there has been research that looks at what factors are associated with self-reported health among community-dwelling older adults. However, this work has not examined the mechanisms by which these factors shape this important measure. This mechanistic understanding will help shape future programs that can be tested in subsequent research work. I am excited to lead this important work that has brought together a team of health researchers from McMaster University as well as the University of Waterloo, Queens University, and Simon Fraser University. As a future researcher, this grant serves as an important opportunity for me to gain experience leading a team. I am fortunate to have been encouraged by my supervisor, Dr. Markle-Reid, and supervisory committee – Drs. Ploeg, Fisher, and McAiney – and supported by the School of Nursing to apply to this grant,” says Whitmore.

Markle-Reid, the project lead, notes that “this research will be supported by, and coordinated from, the Aging, Community and Health Research Unit in the School of Nursing. The findings from this research will add to the work of the Aging, Community and Health Research Unit by identifying strategies to promote optimal aging at home for older adults with multiple health conditions.”

Grant details:

M Markle-Reid, K Fisher, L Griffith, C McAiney, S Phillips, J Ploeg, C Whitmore, A Wister. Explaining Self-Reported Health Among Community-Dwelling Older Adults with Multimorbidity and Depressive Symptoms using a Resilience Framework: An Analysis of CLSA Data. Catalyst Grant: Analysis of Canadian Longitudinal Study in Aging (CLSA) Data. Mar-01-20 to Feb-29-21. Amount: $69,960 

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