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J Epidemiol Community Health. 2017 Aug;71(8):794-799. doi: 10.1136/jech-2016-208853. Epub 2017 Jul 5.

Assessing the measurement properties of a Frailty Index across the age spectrum in the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging.

Author information

1
Department of Health Research Methods, Evidence, and Impact, McMaster University, Hamilton, Canada.
2
McMaster Institute for Research on Aging, Hamilton, Canada.
3
Labarge Centre for Mobility in Aging, McMaster University, Hamilton, Canada.
4
Division of Geriatric Medicine, Department of Medicine, Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada.
5
School of Rehabilitation Science, McMaster University, Hamilton, Canada.
6
Division of Geriatric Medicine, Department of Medicine, McMaster University, Hamilton, Canada.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Frailty is a way to appreciate the variable vulnerability to declining health status of people as they age. No consensus for measuring frailty has been established. This study aimed to adapt a Frailty Index (FI) to the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging (CLSA) and evaluate its applicability in both younger and older adults.

METHODS:

An FI was created based on 90 potential health deficits collected from adults aged 45-85 years at recruitment (N=21 241, 49.0% male). The construct validity of this instrument and the factor structure of the health deficits were evaluated.

RESULTS:

The direction of associations between the FI and other variables were consistent with a priori hypotheses for construct validity. FI values were significantly associated with age (r=0.17; p<0.001), falls (r=0.12; p<0.001), injuries (r=0.12; p<0.001), formal home care (r =0.30; p<0.001), informal home care (r=0.32; p<0.001) and use of assistive devices (r=0.40; p<0.001). Values were negatively associated with male sex (r=-0.12; p<0.001), income (r=-0.34; p<0.001) and education (r=-0.17; p<0.001). Key factors among the health indicators were physical functioning, satisfaction with life and depressive symptoms. Results did not change when the sample was stratified by age and sex.

CONCLUSION:

The FI is a feasible method to evaluate frailty and capture frailty-related heterogeneity in populations aged 45-85 years. In this study, the FI had good construct validity in middle-aged and older adults, showing expected correlations with sociodemographic factors consistently across age groups. This method can be easily reproduced in similar datasets, making the FI a generalisable instrument.

KEYWORDS:

Ageing; CLSA; Epidemiology of ageing; Measurement tool development

PMID:
28679540
DOI:
10.1136/jech-2016-208853
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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