Title page for ETD etd-04052007-100551

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Fontenot, Kayla
Author's Email Address kfonte8@lsu.edu
URN etd-04052007-100551
Title Determinants of the Onset of Disability in Old Age
Degree Master of Arts (M.A.)
Department Sociology
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Mariano Sana Committee Chair
Joachim Singelmann Committee Member
Tim Slack Committee Member
  • life course
  • living arrangements
  • disability
Date of Defense 2007-03-26
Availability unrestricted
With a rapidly aging population, maximizing independent living among the elderly is a growing concern. The inability to perform normal basic care activities interferes with an older individual's ability to live independently. In this study, I examine the onset of disability among elderly Americans using the 2002 and 2004 waves of the Health and Retirement Survey (HRS). In examining the explanatory power of both the life course perspective and the medical model, I find that the medical model is better able to explain onset of disability for males while the life course perspective prevails when explaining onset of disability among females. I find little support that living arrangements among the elderly have an impact on the probability of experiencing onset of disability. Finally, I find that differences exist in the precursors of individual activities of daily living (ADLs) disability, which suggests that using an aggregate measure of ADL disability may be masking more effective preventive measures and treatments.
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