Perception of unmet basic needs as a predictor of physical functioning among community-dwelling older adults

J Aging Health. 2006 Dec;18(6):852-68. doi: 10.1177/0898264306293261.


Objectives: The present study examined the influence of participant's perception that their basic needs were not being met on their physical functioning problems. The association between lower social economic status (SES), typically indexed by income and education, and physical disability has been clearly established. Although income and education are not easily modifiable among older adults, perceptions of resource deficits may be more easily influenced through interventions.

Method: Among community-dwelling older adults (N = 4,162), the authors examined the influence of participants' perception that their basic needs were not being met on physical functioning problems during a 10-year period using growth curve analyses.

Results: Baseline problems meeting basic needs influenced the growth in physical functioning problems, even after controlling for more objective indices of SES and for health problems and behaviors.

Discussion: Interventions focused on providing older adults with resources for meeting basic needs may substantially reduce the subsequent level of disability.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living*
  • Aged
  • Disabled Persons*
  • Female
  • Health Services Needs and Demand*
  • Health Status*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Perception
  • Socioeconomic Factors*
  • United States