Does self-reported function correspond to objective measures of functional impairment?

Yuchi Young, Cynthia M. Boyd, Jack M. Guralnik, Linda P. Fried

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: The relationship between self-reported function and objective measures of physiological function among disabled older women was analyzed to determine the validity of self-reported function, and to identify the hierarchy of self-reported task difficulty most associated with loss of independence as a basis to inform treatment progress goals. Methods: A randomly selected population of older women with moderate to high disability was selected from community-dwelling women 65 to 101 years old from the Women's Health and Aging Study I baseline evaluation (n = 987). Cross-sectional analyses evaluated the association of self-reported function with objective physiological impairment measures. Results: The results indicated that (1) disabled older women self-reported a broad range of physical function levels; (2) self-reported function correlated closely with objective measures of physiological impairments; (3) " preclinical disability," as measured by self-reported modification of task performance in the absence of perceived difficulty, has validity even in a disabled population, and identifies a group intermediate between those who are high functioning in a task and those with difficulty; and (4) there is an apparent gradation in physiological impairment measures with reported loss of functional independence. Conclusion: These findings suggest the validity of self-report functional disability measures and the potential to use these measures to identify already-disabled older adults at risk for further functional degradation and potential targets for intervention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)645-653
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the American Medical Directors Association
Issue number9
StatePublished - Nov 2010


  • Aging
  • Disability
  • Impairments

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)
  • Health Policy
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology

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