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Thompson says America must "unchoose" policies that have led to mass incarceration

Axinn says new data on campus rape will "allow students to see for themselves the full extent of this problem"

Frey says white population is growing in Detroit and other large cities


Susan Murphy to speak at U-M kickoff for data science initiative, Oct 6, Rackham

Andrew Goodman-Bacon, former trainee, wins 2015 Nevins Prize for best dissertation in economic history

Deirdre Bloome wins ASA award for work on racial inequality and intergenerational transmission

Bob Willis awarded 2015 Jacob Mincer Award for Lifetime Contributions to the Field of Labor Economics

Next Brown Bag

Monday, Oct 5 at noon, 6050 ISR
Colter Mitchell: Biological consequences of poverty

Vicki Freedman photo

Chronic Conditions and the Decline in Late-Life Disability

Publication Abstract

Freedman, Vicki, Robert F. Schoeni, Linda G. Martin, and Jennifer C. Cornman. 2007. "Chronic Conditions and the Decline in Late-Life Disability." Demography, 44(3): 459-477.

Using data from the 1997–2004 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), we examine the role of chronic conditions in recent declines in late-life disability prevalence. Building upon prior studies, we decompose disability declines into changes in the prevalence of chronic conditions and in the risk of disability given a condition. In doing so, we extend Kitigawa's (1955) classical decomposition technique to take advantage of the annual data points in the NHIS. Then we use respondents' reports of conditions causing their disability to repartition these traditional decomposition components. We find a general pattern of increasing prevalence of chronic conditions accompanied by declines in the percentage reporting disability among those with a given condition. We also find declines in heart and circulatory conditions, vision impairments, and possibly arthritis and increases in obesity as reported causes of disability. Based on decomposition analyses, we conclude that heart and circulatory conditions as well as vision limitations played a major role in recent declines in late-life disability prevalence and that arthritis may also be a contributing factor. We discuss these findings in light of improvements in treatments and changes in the environments of older adults.

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