Declines in late-life disability: The role of early- and mid-life factors
Investigations into the reasons for declines in late-life disability have largely focused on the role of contemporaneous factors. Adopting a life-course perspective as a backdrop, in this paper we ask whether there also has been a role for selected early- and mid-life factors in the decline, and if so whether these factors have been operating through changes in the risks of disability onset or recovery. Drawing on five waves from 1995 to 2004 of the U.S. Health and Retirement Study, we found for the 75 years and older population in the United States that the prevalence of difficulty with activities of daily living (ADL) declined from 30.2% in 1995 to 26.0% in 2004, whereas the trend in difficulty with instrumental activities of daily living (IADL) was flat. Onset of ADL limitations also was reduced during this period while recovery increased. Changes in the educational composition of the older population were linked to declines in the prevalence of ADL limitations, but there were also modest contributions of changes in mother's education, self-rated childhood health, and lifetime occupation. Declines in late-life vision impairments and increases in wealth also contributed substantially to the downward trend, and had chronic conditions not increased, it would have been even larger. Reductions in the onset of ADL limitations were partly driven by changes in educational attainment of respondents and their mothers and, in late-life, better vision and wealth. In contrast, the recovery trend was not accounted for by changes in early- or mid-life factors. We conclude that early- and mid-life factors have contributed along with late-life factors to U.S. late-life disability trends mainly through their influence on the onset of, rather than recovery from, limitations.
If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
Volume (Year): 66 (2008)
Issue (Month): 7 (April)
|Contact details of provider:|| Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/wps/find/journaldescription.cws_home/315/description#description|
|Order Information:|| Postal: http://www.elsevier.com/wps/find/supportfaq.cws_home/regional|
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Douglas A. Wolf & Carlos F. Mendes de Leon & Thomas A. Glass, 2007. "Trends in Rates of Onset of and Recovery From Disability at Older Ages: 1982–1994," Journals of Gerontology: Series B, Gerontological Society of America, vol. 62(1), pages 3-10.
- Kington, Raynard & Carlisle, David & McCaffrey, Dan & Myers, Hector & Allen, Walter, 1998. "Racial differences in functional status among elderly U.S. migrants from the south," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 47(6), pages 831-840, September.
- Robert F. Schoeni & Vicki A. Freedman & Robert B. Wallace, 2001. "Persistent, Consistent, Widespread, and Robust? Another Look at Recent Trends in Old-Age Disability," Journals of Gerontology: Series B, Gerontological Society of America, vol. 56(4), pages 206-218.
- Dora Costa, 2000.
"Understanding the twentieth-century decline in chronic conditions among older men,"
Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 37(1), pages 53-72, February.
- Dora L. Costa, 1998. "Understanding the Twentieth Century Decline in Chronic Conditions Among Older Men," NBER Working Papers 6859, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Alberto Palloni, 2006. "Reproducing inequalities: Luck, wallets, and the enduring effects of childhood health," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 43(4), pages 587-615, November.
- Vicki Freedman & Linda Martin, 1999. "The role of education in explaining and forecasting trends in functional limitations among older Americans," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 36(4), pages 461-473, November.
- Vicki Freedman & Robert Schoeni & Linda Martin & Jennifer Cornman, 2007. "Chronic conditions and the decline in late-life disability," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 44(3), pages 459-477, August.
- Ye Luo & Linda J. Waite, 2005. "The Impact of Childhood and Adult SES on Physical, Mental, and Cognitive Well-Being in Later Life," Journals of Gerontology: Series B, Gerontological Society of America, vol. 60(2), pages 93-101.
- Fogel, Robert W, 1994. "Economic Growth, Population Theory, and Physiology: The Bearing of Long-Term Processes on the Making of Economic Policy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(3), pages 369-395, June.
- Fogel, Robert W., 1993. "Economic Growth, Population Theory, and Physiology: The Bearing of Long-Term Processes on the Making of Economic Policy," Nobel Prize in Economics documents 1993-1, Nobel Prize Committee.
- Robert W. Fogel, 1994. "Economic Growth, Population Theory, and Physiology: The Bearing of Long-Term Processes on the Making of Economic Policy," NBER Working Papers 4638, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Peck, Maria Nyström & Lundberg, Olle, 1995. "Short stature as an effect of economic and social conditions in childhood," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 41(5), pages 733-738, September.
- Vicki Freedman & Eileen Crimmins & Robert Schoeni & Brenda Spillman & Hakan Aykan & Ellen Kramarow & Kenneth Land & James Lubitz & Kenneth Manton & Linda Martin & Diane Shinberg & Timothy Waidmann, 2004. "Resolving inconsistencies in trends in old-age disability: Report from a technical working group," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 41(3), pages 417-441, August.
- Mark Hayward & Bridget Gorman, 2004. "The long arm of childhood: The influence of early-life social conditions on men’s mortality," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 41(1), pages 87-107, February.
- Jan Mutchler & Archana Prakash & Jeffrey Burr, 2007. "The demography of disability and the effects of immigrant history: Older Asians in the United States," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 44(2), pages 251-263, May.
- Gaetan Lafortune & Gaëlle Balestat, 2007. "Trends in Severe Disability Among Elderly People: Assessing the Evidence in 12 OECD Countries and the Future Implications," OECD Health Working Papers 26, OECD Publishing.
- Timothy A. Waidmann & Korbin Liu, 2000. "Disability Trends Among Elderly Persons and Implications for the Future," Journals of Gerontology: Series B, Gerontological Society of America, vol. 55(5), pages 298-307.
- Mark Hayward & William Grady & Melissa Hardy & David Sommers, 1989. "Occupational influences on retirement, disability, and death," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 26(3), pages 393-409, August.
- Blackwell, Debra L. & Hayward, Mark D. & Crimmins, Eileen M., 2001. "Does childhood health affect chronic morbidity in later life?," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 52(8), pages 1269-1284, April.
- Blane, D. & Higgs, P. & Hyde, M. & Wiggins, R. D., 2004. "Life course influences on quality of life in early old age," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 58(11), pages 2171-2179, June.
- Eileen Crimmins & Mark Hayward, 2004. "Workplace characteristics and work disability onset for men and women," International Journal of Public Health, Springer;Swiss School of Public Health (SSPH+), vol. 49(2), pages 122-131, April. Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:66:y:2008:i:7:p:1588-1602. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu)
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.