Title page for ETD etd-0709103-132756

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Ferachi, Kellye A
Author's Email Address kferac3@lsu.edu
URN etd-0709103-132756
Title Physical Function and Quality of Life in the Very- and Oldest-Old: Gender Differences
Degree Master of Science (M.S.)
Department Kinesiology
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Robert Wood Committee Chair
Arnold Nelson Committee Member
Mile Welsch Committee Member
  • physical function
  • gender differences
  • quality of life
  • older adults
Date of Defense 2003-06-20
Availability unrestricted
Age is associated with deterioration in physical function (PF) and health-related quality of life (HRQL). Recent investigations suggest that a decrease in function may have a greater impact on perceived activities of daily living (ADL) competency in women than in men. The purpose of this investigation was to test the hypothesis that the association between PF and HRQL among older adults is influenced by gender. We examined 108 older adults aged 60 years or older, for PF (Continuous Scale-Physical Function Performance test (CS-PFP10) and Functional Status Index (FSI)) and HRQL (SF-36). In order to address this question we assigned subjects to fitness categories according to FSI and CS-PFP10 scores and tested for gender by fitness category interactions on HRQL. Moreover, we examined the relationship between total CS-PFP10 scores and the PCS-component of the SF-36 as well as total FSI scores and the PCS-component using linear, logarithmic, and power curves. Furthermore, we examined the correlation between total FSI and total CS-PFP10 in men and women. There were main effects of gender on physical self-reported and performance-based measures of PF indicating lower function in women as compared to men. The results indicate that self-reported and performance-based PF scores were positively associated with HRQL in men and women; however, the strength of the association was greater in men (R2 ranging from 0.57-0.61) than in women (R2 ranging from 0.17-0.44). Furthermore, the association between CS-PFP10 scores and FSI scores was stronger in men (R2= 0.64) than in women (R2= 0.47). These data suggest that PF explains more of the variance in physical constructs of HRQL in older men as compared to older women, and that a woman's HRQL is more tightly matched to her perceived functional ability than to her actual performance of ADL-based tasks. These findings underscore the complexity of the manner in which gender and PF interact with HRQL, and suggest the need for further research to clarify the most appropriate modeling techniques for understanding gender, function, and HRQL in later life.
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