Construct Validity and Physical Performance of Older Adults in Different Hierarchical Physical-Disability Levels

in Journal of Aging and Physical Activity
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The purpose of this study was to test the construct validity of the hierarchical levels of self-reported physical disability using health-related variables and physical-performance tests as criteria. The study participants were a community-based sample of 368 adults age 60 years or older. These older adults were grouped into 4 levels according to their physical-disability status (able, mildly disabled, moderately disabled, and severely disabled groups) based on their self-reported measures on the mobility, instrumented activity of daily living (IADL), and activities of daily living (ADL) domains. Health-related variables (body-mass index, number of comorbidities, depression status, mental status, and self-perceived health status) and eight performance-based tests demonstrated significant group differences. Self-reported measures of physical disability can be used to categorize older adults into different stages of physical functional decline.

Wang is with the Dept. of Physical Therapy, Tzu-Chi College of Technology, Chian (970) Hualien 970, Taiwan. Sheu is with the Institute of Cognitive Science, National Cheng Kung University, Tainan City, Taiwan 701. Protas is with the Dept. of Physical Therapy, University of Texas Medical Branch, TX.