The Disablement Process among Elderly Chinese

Deborah Lowry, University of Michigan

The prevalent model of disablement is one in which functional limitations mediate the pathway between pathologies/impairments and disability, defined as having difficulty acting “in necessary, usual, expected and personally desired ways in [one’s] society” (Verbrugge and Jette 1994). Disability is posited to be moderated by both environmental and personal factors (ibid). This paper uses data from two waves of the Chinese Longitudinal Healthy Longevity Study to pose the following questions: Does the disablement process among Chinese elderly support the prevalent model of disablement or does it differ from that observed among US seniors (Lawrence and Jette 1996; Peek et al. 2003)? Do living arrangements and attitude matter? Structural equation models are estimated to test the hypotheses that (a) functional limitations moderate the relationship between impairments and disability; (b) one environmental factor (coresidence) moderates disability; and (c) one personal factor (optimism) moderates disability among this sample of Chinese elderly ages 78-115.

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Presented in Session 17: Health and Dependency at Older Ages