Variation in the associations of education, occupation, income, and assets with functional limitations in older Mexican Americans

Arlene M Keddie, M Kristen Peek, Kyriakos S Markides
Annals of Epidemiology 2005, 15 (8): 579-89

PURPOSE: The primary aim was to examine the particular components of socioeconomic status that may be associated with functional limitation among older Mexican American men and women.

METHODS: Using baseline data from the Hispanic Established Population for the Epidemiologic Study of the Elderly, the education, past occupation, household income, and assets of those with and without limitations in activities of daily living (ADL), instrumental activities of daily living (IADL), and those scoring 9 versus < 9 on the performance oriented mobility assessment (POMA) were compared.

RESULTS: Not completing at least 12 years of education was associated with a two-fold higher likelihood of having an IADL limitation, but not significantly associated with other indicators of functional limitation. Men who had been skilled manual, farm workers, or laborers were 1.82 to 2.59 times as likely as those who had been white-collar workers to have a POMA score below 9. Homemakers had significantly higher odds of all three measures of functional/mobility impairment than women white-collar workers.

CONCLUSIONS: Different dimensions of socioeconomic status may be associated with separate aspects of functional limitation in distinct ways, which vary by sex.

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