Identifying adults aging with disability using existing data: The case of the Health and Retirement Study.

TitleIdentifying adults aging with disability using existing data: The case of the Health and Retirement Study.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsCoyle, CE, Putnam, M
JournalDisabil Health J
Date Published2017 Oct
ISSN Number1876-7583
KeywordsActivities of Daily Living, Adolescent, Age of Onset, Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Aging, Child, Child Health, Chronic disease, Disabled Persons, Female, health, Health Status, Health Surveys, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Retirement, Self Report, Work

BACKGROUND: The population of persons aging with disabilities is growing. Being able to segment aging with disability sub-populations within national data sets is becoming increasingly important in order to understand the relationship of aging with disability to a range of outcomes in later life including health and wellness, economic security, and health and long-term service and support need and use.

OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to identify viable sub-samples of adults aging with disabilities within the Health and Retirement Study, one of the most used secondary data sets to study aging and older adults.

METHOD: Samples used in this research are drawn from wave 11 (2012) of the HRS. Five operationalizations of disability were used: childhood disability (n = 719), childhood chronic condition (n = 3070), adult chronic condition (n = 13,723), functional limitation in adulthood (n = 4448) and work disability (n = 5632).

RESULTS: These subsamples are not mutually exclusive. Among respondents that reported having a childhood disability, 87% also report having at least one chronic disease in adulthood, 50% report having functional limitations in adulthood and 38% report interruption in their ability to work due to a disability. Compared to the childhood disability samples, rates of reporting fair/poor health are nearly double among adults with functional limitations or those with work disruptions because of disability.

CONCLUSION: Work disability and functional limitation appeared to be the most viable sub-sample options to consider when using the HRS to study experiences of adults aging with disability. Overall, age at onset is unclear.

User Guide Notes

Alternate JournalDisabil Health J
Citation Key8855
PubMed ID28082002