The purpose of this study is to determine whether the Disablement Process (DP) model is supported by data from a large survey of elderly Chinese ages 65-105 years old (the Chinese Longitudinal Healthy Longevity Survey). It is expected that, as described by the DP model and earlier models, functional limitations will mediate the relationship between impairments and disability (measured via activities of daily living). The main point of interest is whether an intra-individual factor (a subjective sense of social isolation, or loneliness) and an extra-individual factor (adequate medical care) moderate the disablement process among this sample of elderly Chinese. Findings (a) support prior research showing the relative importance of lower- (versus upper-) body functional limitations for ADL disability, (b) suggest the indirect importance of both adequate medical care and of reported loneliness for levels of ADL disability, and (c) demonstrate that hypertension has direct effect, in addition to indirect effects, on levels of ADL disability. Future in-depth investigation of factors that mitigate and exacerbate later-life disablement in Chinese contexts is necessary and important.
Country of focus: China.