OBJECTIVE - We examined the relationship between health-related social disengagements, as opposed to disengagements related to financial and other non-health-related factors, and subsequent risk of disability and death among initially nondisabled elderly diabetic patients enrolled in Medicare Managed Care plans. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS - We used data from the Medicare Health Outcomes Survey (HOS) Cohort 1 Baseline (1998) and Cohort 1 Follow-Up (2000). Through mail and telephone surveys, trained interviewers collected information on sociodemographic variables, physical and mental health functioning (using Medical Outcomes Study Short Form-36 [SF-36]), activities of daily living (ADL), and medical conditions. This study reported on diabetic subjects aged ≥65 years with no ADL disability at baseline (n = 8,949). Health-related social disengagement (degree to which physical health or emotional problems interfere with social activities) was derived from the social functioning subscale of SF-36 (range 0-100; higher scores depicting better social functioning). RESULTS - For each 10-point increase in social functioning score at baseline, older diabetic subjects in our study experienced an 18% less chance of any ADL disability (odds ratio [OR] 0.82, 95% CI 0.75-0.89; P < 0.001) and a 12% less chance of death (0.88, 0.78-1.00; P = 0.043) over a 2-year period, adjusting for demographic factors, comorbidities, depression, and general health (assessed by the SF-36). CONCLUSIONS - Among initially nondisabled older diabetic subjects, health-related interferences with social activities at baseline may be early warning signs of subsequent ADL disability and premature death, independent of other measures of health status.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Internal Medicine
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
- Advanced and Specialized Nursing