ICF participation restriction is common in frail, community-dwelling older people: an observational cross-sectional study

Physiotherapy. 2011 Mar;97(1):26-32. doi: 10.1016/j.physio.2010.06.008.


Objectives: To determine the extent of participation restriction in a sample of frail older people, and to identify the domains of participation that are most restricted. A secondary aim was to determine which health and demographic factors were associated with participation restriction.

Design: An observational cross-sectional study.

Setting: Adults recently discharged from an aged care and rehabilitation service in Australia who were enrolled in a clinical trial.

Participants: One hundred and eighty-one community-dwelling adults aged over 70 years (mean age 84, standard deviation 5.7) who met the Cardiovascular Health Study criteria for frailty, had a Mini Mental State Examination score over 18 and a predicted life expectancy exceeding 12 months.

Main outcome measures: Participation restriction was evaluated using the Reintegration to Normal Living Index.

Results: Eighty percent of subjects reported participation restriction in at least one aspect of their life. Restricted participation was most prevalent in the areas of work in the home or community (114/181, 63%) and community mobility (92/181, 51%), and least common with regard to interpersonal relationships (9/181, 5%). Multivariate regression analysis showed that grip strength, mood, number of medical conditions and mobility were independently and significantly (P<0.05) associated with participation restriction, and explained 29% of the variance in participation restriction. Cognition and living alone were not significantly associated with participation restriction.

Conclusions: Participation restriction was common in this sample of frail, community-dwelling older people. It was associated with factors from multiple levels of the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health. Further research is suggested to investigate the causes and treatment of participation restriction.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Disability Evaluation*
  • Humans
  • Independent Living*
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Mobility Limitation
  • Physical Therapy Specialty / methods*
  • Self Care
  • Work