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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.