Home > Publications . Search All . Browse All . Country . Browse PSC Pubs . PSC Report Series

PSC In The News

RSS Feed icon

Groves keynote speaker at MIDAS symposium, Nov 15-16: "Big Data: Advancing Science, Changing the World"

Shaefer says drop child tax credit in favor of universal, direct investment in American children

Buchmueller breaks down partisan views on Obamacare

More News


Gonzalez, Alter, and Dinov win NSF "Big Data Spokes" award for neuroscience network

Post-doc Melanie Wasserman wins dissertation award from Upjohn Institute

ISR kicks off DE&I initiative with lunchtime presentation: Oct 13, noon, 1430 ISR Thompson

U-M ranked #4 in USN&WR's top public universities

More Highlights

Next Brown Bag

Mon, Oct 24 at noon:
Academic innovation & the global public research university, James Hilton

Recent Trends in Disability and Functioning Among Older Americans: A Critical Review of the Evidence

Publication Abstract

Freedman, Vicki A., Linda G. Martin, and Robert F. Schoeni. 2002. "Recent Trends in Disability and Functioning Among Older Americans: A Critical Review of the Evidence." JAMA, 288(24): 3137-3146.

Context Several well-publicized recent studies have suggested that disability among older Americans has declined in the last decade.

Objectives To assess the quality, quantity, and consistency of recent evidence on US trends in the prevalence of self-rated old age disability and physical, cognitive, and sensory limitations during the late 1980s and 1990s and to evaluate the evidence on trends in disparities by major demographic groups.

Data Sources We searched MEDLINE and AGELINE for relevant articles published from January 1990 through May 2002 and reviewed reference lists in published articles.

Study Selection From more than 800 titles reviewed, we selected 16 articles based on 8 unique repeat cross-sectional and cohort surveys of US prevalence trends in disability or functioning among persons generally aged 65 or 70 years or older.

Data Extraction We evaluated survey quality according to 10 criteria, ranked the surveys as good, fair, or poor, and calculated for each outcome the average annual percent change.

Data Synthesis Among the 8 surveys, 2 were rated as good, 4 as fair, 1 as poor, and 1 as mixed (fair or poor, depending on the outcome) for assessing trends. Analyses of surveys rated fair or good showed consistency of declines in any disability (-1.55% to -0.92% per year), instrumental activities of daily living disability (-2.74% to -0.40% per year), and functional limitations. Surveys provided limited evidence on cognition and conflicting evidence on self-reported ADL (changes ranged from -1.38% to 1.53% per year) and vision trends. Evidence on trends in disparities by age, sex, race, and education was limited and mixed, with no consensus yet emerging.

Conclusions Several measures of old age disability and limitations have shown improvements in the last decade. Research into the causes of these improvements is needed to understand the implications for the future demand for medical care.

Browse | Search : All Pubs | Next