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A cross-national study of quality of life factors associated with patterns of elderly disablement


  • Lamb, Vicki L.


This study examines individual-level data of non-institutionalized elderly from Bahrain, Burma, DPR Korea, Egypt, Indonesia, Jordan, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Tunisia. The Grade of Membership multivariate procedure is used to determine profiles of disablement, based upon functional disability and depression items, and to examine socio-demographic and quality of life covariates associated with such profiles. The analysis yielded six profiles or types of disablement: functionally and emotionally healthy, functionally healthy with some depressive symptoms, some strength problems, severely depressed, mobility problems and functionally frail. The healthy profile had higher probabilities associated with males, whereas the very depressed, and those with physical strength limitations, and mobility problems were more likely to be female. There is a strong positive association between age and functional disabilities. The more depressed profiles, however, tended to be among the younger age categories, and the depressed had higher probabilities associated with being not married. The examination of quality of life covariates indicates that the functional and emotional limitations generally are correlated with a lower quality of life. The more functionally disabled and the depressed profiles had more negative self-assessments of health and lower morale scores. The very depressed had less instrumental social support in terms of available kin. Also, the functionally and emotionally disabled profiles expressed less satisfaction of visits with family and friends. Country-specific patterns of elderly disablement indicate a possible disability transition such that as countries become more developed there may be an increase in the prevalence of disabled elderly. However, there are exceptions to this trend, and these may be due to both cultural factors and data limitations.

Suggested Citation

  • Lamb, Vicki L., 1996. "A cross-national study of quality of life factors associated with patterns of elderly disablement," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 42(3), pages 363-377, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:42:y:1996:i:3:p:363-377

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. van Gool, Coen H. & Kempen, Gertrudis I. J. M. & Penninx, Brenda W. J. H. & Deeg, Dorly J. H. & Beekman, Aartjan T. F. & van Eijk, Jacques Th. M., 2005. "Impact of depression on disablement in late middle aged and older persons: results from the Longitudinal Aging Study Amsterdam," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 60(1), pages 25-36, January.
    2. David M. Cutler & Kaushik Ghosh & Mary Beth Landrum, 2013. "Evidence for Significant Compression of Morbidity in the Elderly U.S. Population," NBER Chapters,in: Discoveries in the Economics of Aging, pages 21-51 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Obrizan, Maksym, 2011. "Unobserved Factors Linking Functional Decline and Depression Among the Oldest Americans," MPRA Paper 31949, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. David R. Weir, 2011. "Comment on "Dimensons of Health in the Elderly Population"," NBER Chapters,in: Investigations in the Economics of Aging, pages 200-202 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Mary Beth Landrum & Kate A. Stewart & David M. Cutler, 2009. "Clinical Pathways to Disability," NBER Chapters,in: Health at Older Ages: The Causes and Consequences of Declining Disability among the Elderly, pages 151-187 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Paul McNamee, 2004. "A comparison of the grade of membership measure with alternative health indicators in explaining costs for older people," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 13(4), pages 379-395.


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