Recovery from physical limitations among older Mexican adults

Carlos Díaz-Venegas, Rebeca Wong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Objectives: This paper examines the key determinants of the likelihood of recovery from a physical disability among older adults. Methods: Data come from the Mexican Health and Aging Study (MHAS), a national sample of adults born in 1951 or earlier, including a baseline survey in 2001 and follow-ups in 2003, 2012 and 2015. At baseline, we divided our sample of older adults aged 60+ by dimensions of physical limitations (ADLs, IADLs, mobility) and classified respondents as having physical limitations in zero, one, two or three dimensions. Each respondent was then categorized as “same”, “worse”, “improved” or “died” depending on the number of physical dimensions with a limitation in a 2-year span (2001–2003) and again, separately, in a 3-year span (2012–2015). We then used a multinomial logistic regression to analyze the relative risk of transitioning from one category to another. Findings: Around 21 % of our sample exhibited some recovery in 2003 and around 20 % recovered in 2015. Age, gender, poor self-rated health, depression and some chronic conditions were significant for shifting the relative risk from staying the same to getting worse, dying or even improving. Conclusions: Disability from a physical limitation is a reversible and dynamic process. Our results reflect the importance of considering the dimensions of physical ability while analyzing recovery, and illustrate that the presence of a chronic condition or depressive symptoms does not necessarily imply permanent disability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number104208
JournalArchives of Gerontology and Geriatrics
StatePublished - Nov 1 2020


  • Disability
  • MHAS
  • Mexico
  • Older adults
  • Physical limitations
  • Recovery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Aging
  • Gerontology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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