178572 Health-related quality of life across the decades: Age patterns among women and men with and without functional limitations

Monday, October 27, 2008

Gloria L. Krahn, PhD, MPH , National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Portland, OR
Willi Horner-Johnson, PhD , Rehabilitation Research and Training Center: Healtlh and Wellness, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, OR
R.R.T.C. Expert Panel on Health Status Measurement , Rehabilitation Research and Training Center: Healtlh and Wellness, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, OR
As people age, the number of medical conditions they experience may increase, but does their self-rated health (SRH) or health-related quality of life (HRQOL) decrease? How are functional limitations and gender related to SRH and HRQOL? To address these questions, we analyzed responses to an SRH question and eight HRQOL questions about the number of days in the past month when certain health conditions were present (e.g., pain, worry, depression). Data were from US states and territories that utilized all nine of these questions in the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) in 2001 or 2002. This included 13 states/districts in 2001 (n=47,179) and 10 states/territories in 2002 (n=45,413) for a total sample size of 92,592. Data were analyzed for four groups: women with functional limitations, women without functional limitations, men with functional limitations, and men without functional limitations. Average scores for the groups were calculated for each decade of adult life. We found that: 1) good SRH was reported into the eighth decade and positive HRQOL well past age 65; 2) across the decades, having a functional limitation was associated with lower health and HRQOL; 3) within functional limitation groups, women generally reported better HRQOL than men; 4) for all groups, improvements with age were seen in mental health, getting enough rest, and feeling worried. Results suggest that general perceptions of poor health among elders are not necessarily shared by aging persons.

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe general patterns of how SRH and HRQOL differ by age, functional limitation, and gender. 2. Discuss possible reasons for some of the differences shown. 3. Articulate implications for research utilizing self-report measures of health and HRQOL.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the lead researcher of the study upon which the abstract is based.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.