Impairment and disability in the aged

J Chronic Dis. 1985;38(1):59-65. doi: 10.1016/0021-9681(85)90008-6.


Data on 776 survivors of the Massachusetts Health Care Panel Study are used to examine the relationship between impairment and disability among noninstitutionalized aged. Using multiple regression we examined the relationship of sight, hearing, and musculoskeletal impairments with physical and social disability, controlling for age, gender, income, and living situation. Findings suggest that impairments do not inevitably lead to disability. Musculoskeletal and visual impairments are strongly related to physical disability. None of the impairments studied in this sample are related to increasing social disability. These results suggest that physical and social disabilities may be distinct concepts with quite different determinants.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living*
  • Aged* / psychology
  • Bone Diseases / complications*
  • Female
  • Hearing Disorders / complications*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Muscular Diseases / complications*
  • Social Environment*
  • Vision Disorders / complications*