Short-term variability of measures of physical function in older people

J Am Geriatr Soc. 1990 Sep;38(9):993-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1532-5415.1990.tb04422.x.


Self reported physical function was assessed in telephone interviews approximately 3 weeks apart for a sample of 193 persons aged 69 or older. Three measures of physical function were used: a modified Activities of Daily Living scale, three items proposed by Rosow and Breslau, and five items from among those used by Nagi. Agreement between first and second interviews was very good; most subjects reported no impairment in function at either interview. Among those who reported some impairment, the degree of limitation within the specific activities reported as limited and the total number of activities with any degree of limitation agreed exactly for most and within one level for almost all subjects. There was no evidence to suggest that age or cognitive impairment affected the variability of the responses, and reported declines and improvements in function were about equally common.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living*
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cognition Disorders / complications
  • Cognition Disorders / diagnosis
  • Evaluation Studies as Topic
  • Female
  • Geriatric Assessment*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Memory, Short-Term
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Surveys and Questionnaires / standards*