Life-space Mobility in Mexican Americans Aged 75 and Older

J Am Geriatr Soc. 2012 Mar;60(3):532-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1532-5415.2011.03822.x. Epub 2012 Jan 27.


Objectives: To examine the factors associated with life-space mobility in older Mexican Americans.

Design: Cross-sectional study involving a population-based survey.

Setting: Hispanic Established Population for the Epidemiologic Study of the Elderly survey conducted in the southwestern of United States (Texas, Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, and California).

Participants: Seven hundred twenty-eight Mexican-American men and women aged 75 and older.

Measurements: Sociodemographic factors, self-reported physician diagnoses of medical conditions (arthritis, diabetes mellitus, heart attack, stroke, hip fracture, and cancer), depressive symptoms, cognitive function, body mass index (BMI), upper and lower extremity muscle strength, Short Physical Performance Battery (SPPB), activities of daily living (ADLs), and the life-space assessment (LSA) were assessed in in-home interviews.

Results: The mean age of participants was 84.2 ± 4.2. Sixty-five percent were female. Mean LSA score was 41.7 ± 20.9. Multiple regression analysis showed that older age, being female, limitation in ADLs, stroke, high depressive symptoms, and a BMI index of 35 kg/m(2) and greater were significantly associated with lower LSA scores. Education and better lower extremity function and muscle strength were factors significantly associated with higher LSA scores.

Conclusion: Older Mexican Americans had restricted life-space, with approximately 80% limited to their home or neighborhood. Older age, female sex, stroke, high depressive symptoms, BMI of 35 kg/m(2) or greater, and ADL disability were related to less life-space. Future studies are needed to examine the association between life-space and health outcomes and to characterize the trajectory of life-space over time in this population.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living*
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Body Mass Index
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Cognition Disorders / diagnosis
  • Comorbidity
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Depression / diagnosis
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mexican Americans / psychology*
  • Mexican Americans / statistics & numerical data*
  • Mobility Limitation
  • Muscle Strength
  • Sex Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires