The progression of disability among older adults in Mexico

Carlos Díaz-Venegas, Timothy A. Reistetter, Ching Yi Wang, Rebeca Wong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Purpose: This paper seeks to document the progression of disability in a developing country and to examine gender differences in this process. Methods: The data come from the Mexican Health and Aging Study (MHAS), a nationally representative sample of older adults. An ordinal logistic regression (n = 3283) is used to measure the progression of disability that considers: (1) no disability, (2) mobility problems, (3) mobility problems with IADLs limitations, (4) mobility problems with ADLs limitations, (5) combinations of the latter three and (6) death. Results: Approximately 43% of the sample remained in the same level of disability after 2 years. The patterns of progression with two disabilities differ for men and women. Conclusions: Our model reflects the importance of separating ADLs and IADLs in the study of disability progression in Mexico. Varying risk profiles and cultural differences might influence the divergent disability paths followed by each gender.Implications for Rehabilitation The disablement process involving transitions from mobility impairments to IADL and ADL limitations seen in developed countries differs for older adults in Mexico. Cultural differences may influence the progression from non-disabled to becoming disabled in different ways for females in developing countries like Mexico. One-fifth of individuals showed greater function and independence over time, suggesting that the disablement process is reversible. This finding highlights the need to focus on improving mobility, ADL, and IADL skills to facilitate successful aging. Although disability is often conceptualised as a combination of ADL and IADL limitations, gender differences seen in Mexico indicate the need to separate ADL and IADL when developing approaches to prevent or ameliorate disability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2016-2027
Number of pages12
JournalDisability and Rehabilitation
Issue number20
StatePublished - Sep 24 2016


  • Gender differences
  • MHAS
  • Mexico
  • older adults
  • paths of disablement
  • progression of disability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rehabilitation


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