Objective: This article addresses how stable functional disability statuses and disability transitions are related to change in depressive symptoms in the elderly.
Method: The authors estimate longitudinal residual change models using two waves of data, 1986 and 1992, from the National Institute of Aging Established Populations for Epidemiologic Studies of the Elderly, Duke University.
Results: Both stable disability statuses and transitions in disability statuses are significantly related to change in depressive symptoms (Center for Epidemiologic Studies depression scale [CES D]). Stable disability statuses in strength and mobility, instrumental activities of daily living (IADL) items and activities of daily living (ADL) items have increasing effects on increment in CES-D scores by the follow-up. The onset of disability has stronger effects on change in CES-D scores than recovery. These effects also differ by types of transitions in disability statuses.
Discussion: The authors discuss alternative interpretations of the findings and methodological concerns and also suggest avenues for future research.