Acceptance of Disability and the Risk of Frailty

Philip D. St. John, Patrick Montgomery



The objectives are to determine if: 1) accepting disability as a part of aging is associated with frailty; and 2) accepting disability is associated with becoming frail over a five-year period.


Secondary analysis of a prospective cohort study of 1,751 community-dwelling adults aged 65+. Participants were asked to rate their agreement with the statement: “When you reach my age, you have to accept a fair degree of discomfort and physical disability” on a five-point scale. Frailty was categorized as not frail or frail. The sample was re-interviewed five years later.


The mean age was 75.5 years, 62.3% were women, and the mean education was 10.2 years. Accepting disability as a part of aging was strongly associated with frailty at time 1; the unadjusted Odds Ratio (OR) and 95% confidence interval (CI) was 1.47 (1.25, 1.72) and this association persisted after adjusting for confounding factors. Accepting disability was also associated with becoming frail; the unadjusted OR and 95% CI was 1.51 (1.20, 1.90), and this association also persisted after adjusting for potential confounding factors.


Accepting disability as a part of aging is associated with being frail and becoming frail.


health beliefs; disability; frailty

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ISSN: 1925-8348 (Online)