Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Human Development and Family Studies

First Advisor

Peter X. Martin


The objectives of this study were to (a) to understand health in very late life (b) to identify the mechanisms through which personal, social, and community-care resources influence multiple health outcomes in very late life. This study used the data (N = 197) from Phase III of the Georgia Centenarian Study (GCS). The Georgia Centenarian Study collected data from centenarians and near centenarians (98 years and older), octogenarians (80 years and older) as well as their proxy informants. The results of structural equation modeling demonstrated differential pathways for effects of psychosocial resources on four health outcomes (proxy-rated centenarian health, functional health, chronic diseases, and health problems). The results of this study also indicated (a) variation in overall and functional health of centenarians (b) direct effects of demographic characteristics, personality, and community-care resources on social support (c) that social support moderated the relationship between Neuroticism and proxy-rated health as well as health problems. Overall, the results showed that psychosocial resources affected social support but had a limited role in predicting health outcomes in very late life. Functional health emerged as the most relevant health outcome in very late life. By understanding health and factors that affect health in very old age, better health interventions and community programs can effectively be formulated and implemented to ensure a better health-related quality of life in very old age.


Copyright Owner

Neha Deshpande



Date Available


File Format


File Size

120 pages