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01.12.2017 | Research Article | Ausgabe 1/2017 Open Access

BMC Geriatrics 1/2017

A protective personal factor against disability and dependence in the elderly: an ordinal regression analysis with nine geographically-defined samples from Spain

Zeitschrift:
BMC Geriatrics > Ausgabe 1/2017
Autoren:
Javier Virues-Ortega, Saturio Vega, Manuel Seijo-Martinez, Pedro Saz, Fernanda Rodriguez, Angel Rodriguez-Laso, Susana Perez de las Heras, Raimundo Mateos, Pablo Martinez-Martin, Ignacio Mahillo-Fernandez, Josep Garre-Olmo, Jordi Gascon, Francisco Jose Garcia-Garcia, Manuel Fernandez-Martinez, Felix Bermejo-Pareja, Alberto Bergareche, Julian Benito-Leon, Jesus de Pedro-Cuesta, on behalf of the Spanish Epidemiological Studies on Ageing Group
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Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (doi:10.​1186/​s12877-016-0409-9) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

Abstract

Background

Sense of Coherence (SOC) is defined as a tendency to perceive life experiences as comprehensible, manageable and meaningful. The construct is split in three major domains: Comprehensibility, Manageability, and Meaningfulness. SOC has been associated with successful coping strategies in the face of illness and traumatic events and is a predictor of self-reported and objective health in a variety of contexts. In the present study we aim to evaluate the association of SOC with disability and dependence in Spanish elders.

Methods

A total of 377 participants aged 75 years or over from nine locations across Spain participated in the study (Mean age: 80.9 years; 65.3% women). SOC levels were considered independent variables in two ordinal logistic models on disability and dependence, respectively. Disability was established with the World health Organization-Disability Assessment Schedule 2.0 (36-item version), while dependence was measured with the Extended Katz Index on personal and instrumental activities of daily living. The models included personal (sex, age, social contacts, availability of an intimate confidant), environmental (municipality size, access to social resources) and health-related covariates (morbidity).

Results

High Meaningfulness was a strong protective factor against both disability (Odds Ratio [OR] = 0.50; 95% Confidence Interval [CI] = 0.29–0.87) and dependence (OR = 0.33; 95% CI = 0.19–0.58) while moderate and high Comprehensibility was protective for disability (OR = 0.40; 95% CI = 0.22–0.70 and OR = 0.39; 95%CI = 0.21–0.74), but not for dependence. Easy access to social and health resources was also highly protective against both disability and dependence.

Conclusions

Our results are consistent with the view that high levels of SOC are protective against disability and dependence in the elderly. Elderly individuals with limited access to social and health resources and with low SOC may be a group at risk for dependence and disability in Spain.
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