Classes of Disability Trajectories in Later Life for Community-Dwelling and Institutionalized Older Adults

Miles G. Taylor, Duke University

Disability is a dynamic process and within recent decades, the interest of researchers has turned to conceptualizing and measuring trajectories of disability. Previous research on disability trajectories in later life has shown that disability may be seen as a growth process. These findings have relied on methods (hierarchical linear models, latent growth models) that fit an aggregate/average trajectory of disability for all individuals. It is possible that subgroups of individuals have fundamentally different, nonlinear trajectories of disability. In this research, latent class analysis will be used to model group trajectories of disability experience in later life with NLTCS data. It is expected that 5 classes of disability trajectories will emerge. In addition, younger cohorts are expected be distributed differently among the classes. These findings will contribute to existing theory and knowledge about the shape of disability trajectories in late life, having implications for future research and policy.

  See extended abstract

Presented in Poster Session 4: Aging