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Midlife Trends in Activities and Disability

Publication Abstract

Verbrugge, Lois M., and Xian Liu. 2014. "Midlife Trends in Activities and Disability." Journal of Aging and Health, 26(2): 178-206.

Objectives: This is the first analysis that demonstrates empirically the likely tie between activities (time spent) and disability (health-related difficulty in activities). We compare trends in activities and disability for Americans ages 55 to 69 in recent years, and assess cross-sectional linkages of activities and disability. Methods: Data are from the Health and Retirement Study, a longitudinal survey of community-dwelling U.S. adults. Trends are estimated by mixed-effects regression models (MRMs) with time, age, and time-age interaction predictors. Links of activities and disability also use MRM. Results: For midlife adults, hobbies/leisure and sports/exercise increased, repairs/yard decreased, and several activities had convex patterns; by contrast, disability prevalence was stable. Personal care hours rise with disability, but most activities decline. Discussion: Activities are more dynamic than disability, and time use is associated with disability. Taken together, the results encourage broader activities in disability measures to capture better disability's scope and dynamics.

DOI:10.1177/0898264313508189 (Full Text)

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