Send to

Choose Destination
Can J Aging. 2020 Jan 31:1-14. doi: 10.1017/S0714980819000758. [Epub ahead of print]

Operationalizing the Disablement Process for Research on Older Adults: A Critical Review.

Lane NE1,2, Boyd CM3,4,5, Stukel TA1,2,6, Wodchis WP1,2,7,8.

Author information

Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation, University of Toronto.
Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences, Toronto, ON.
Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD.
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD.
Johns Hopkins Center on Aging and Health, Baltimore, MD.
Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy & Clinical Practice, Hanover, NH.
Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, Toronto, ON.
Institute for Better Health, Trillium Health Partners, Mississauga, ON.


Self-care disability is difficulty with or dependence on others to perform activities of daily living, such as eating and dressing. Disablement is worsening self-care disability measured over time. The disablement process model (DPM) is often used to conceptualize gerontology research on self-care disability and disablement; however, no summary of variables that align with person-level DPM constructs exists. This review summarizes the results of 88 studies to identify the nature and role of variables associated with disability and disablement in older adults according to the person-level constructs (e.g., demographic characteristics, chronic pathologies) in the DPM. It also examines the evidence for cross-sectional applications of the DPM and identifies common limitations in extant literature to address in future research. Researchers can apply these results to guide theory-driven disability and disablement research using routinely collected health data from older adults.


activities of daily living; activités de la vie quotidienne; ageing; centre d’hébergement et de soins communautaires; chronic disease; community/nursing home; functional limitations; incapacité à prendre soin de soi; limitations fonctionnelles; maladie chronique; self-care disability; vieillissement


Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Cambridge University Press
Loading ...
Support Center