Document Type



Master of Science (MS)


Occupational Therapy

First Advisor's Name

Gail Ann Hills

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Paulette Johnson

Third Advisor's Name

Pamela Shaffner

Date of Defense



The purpose of this study was to compare age-related differences in self-reported health and self-reported functional abilities from 1971 individuals surveyed in the Comprehensive Needs Assessment Survey of Elders 60 years and Older in Dade County. The responses were divided into four age groups: (a) 60 to 64 years, (b) 65 to 74 years, (c) 75 to 84 years, and (d) 85 years and older and results compared.

The study found that self-reported health ratings were significantly different across the four age groups and exhibited a gradual decrease in favorable health ratings with age. For all ages, at least 60% of the respondents rated their health as either "excellent" or "good", but this percentage decreased from 68.10% in the youngest group to 60.7% in the oldest.

The study also found significant differences across age groups in functional abilities as measured by reported difficulties with eight activities of daily living (ADLs) and eight instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs). For all ADLs and IADLs, the percentage of respondents reporting difficulty increased with age, but this increase was most dramatic in the oldest age group (85+ years).

There was a positive relationship between self-reported health and functional ability in the four age groups and as the number of difficulties with ADLs or IADLs increased, self-reported health became poorer. However, the relationship between self-reported health and functional ability tended to weaken with age. Pearson correlation coefficients between self-reported health and difficulties with ADLs decreased from the youngest age group (r=.463) to the oldest group (r=.310). Similarly, the correlation between self-reported health and difficulties with IADLs was higher in the two younger age groups (r=.326 and r=.420) than the two older groups (r=.249 and r=.215). Pairwise z-tests revealed that the correlations of the oldest age group were significantly different from the other age groups.

The study also found gender differences across age groups.

The findings from this study suggest that there is a relationship between self-reported health and functional abilities and this relationship tends to weaken with age. The implications of these findings for occupational therapy with elderly clients are discussed.




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