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Am J Epidemiol. 1998 Jun 1;147(11):1019-27.

Higher instrumental activities of daily living disability in Hispanics compared with non-Hispanic whites in rural Colorado. The San Luis Valley Health and Aging Study.

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Department of Preventive Medicine and Biometrics, University of Colorado School of Medicine, Denver 80262, USA.


This study examined Hispanic versus non-Hispanic white patterns of needing assistance with instrumental activities of daily living (IADL). The authors interviewed 798 Hispanic and 614 non-Hispanic white residents of rural Colorado, who were aged 60 years and older between 1993 and 1995. Seventy-five participants were nursing home residents at the time of the interview. Community-dwelling Hispanics were 1.6 times as likely as non-Hispanic whites to need assistance with at least one IADL task (95% confidence interval 1.25-2.13). A larger proportion of disabled non-Hispanic whites were in nursing homes but, after including nursing home residents, Hispanics remained significantly more likely to need assistance on at least one IADL task (odds ratio = 1.49, 95% confidence interval 1.16-1.93). Hispanics were also more likely to have difficulty on observed performance tasks. The Hispanic excess was not removed by adjusting for chronic disease, reported difficulty walking, or income. English language proficiency adjustment lowered the Hispanic excess, but adjusting for years of education or Mini-Mental State Examination scores more completely removed the ethnic differences. Higher education was protective for both Hispanic and non-Hispanic white elderly. Efforts to further investigate what facets or correlates of education are operating may offer useful insights into limiting IADL difficulties in future cohorts.

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