Predictors of hand function in older persons: a two-year longitudinal analysis

J Am Geriatr Soc. 1995 Feb;43(2):122-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1532-5415.1995.tb06376.x.


Objective: To validate a hierarchical model of hand function in older persons, using longitudinal data.

Design: Longitudinal observational study (2-year data from an ongoing longitudinal study).

Subjects: 689 persons older than age 60, including Continuing Care Retirement Community (n = 230), homebound (n = 204), and ambulatory (n = 255) respondents. Mean age at baseline 76.6 (SD = 8.8).

Measurement: Independent variables included sociodemographics, physician measures of upper joint impairment, self-reported comorbidity, arthritis pain, depression, and anxiety. The dependent variables included grip strength and a timed manual performance test.

Main results: Using generalized estimated equations (GEE) to test our hierarchial model, we found that gender and upper extremity joint impairment were the strongest predictors of a longitudinal measure of grip strength. Grip strength, in turn, along with demographics, comorbidity, and a measure of psychological status, was significantly related to timed manual performance.

Conclusions: The longitudinal analyses confirmed a previous cross-sectional finding that upper extremity joint impairment contributes significantly to reduced grip strength, which, in turn, contributes to reduced hand performance on a timed test.

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
  • Anxiety / diagnosis
  • Comorbidity
  • Depression / diagnosis
  • Female
  • Geriatric Assessment*
  • Hand / physiology*
  • Hand Strength
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Psychomotor Performance
  • Sex Factors