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Measuring functional ability in healthy ageing: A nationwide cross-sectional survey in the Philippine older population

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Dario Moreno-Agostino, Matthew Prina, Kia Chong Chua, Amuthavalli Thiyagarajan Jotheeswaran, Ritu Sadana, Alana Officer, Kaloyan Kamenov, Alarcos Cieza

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere050827
JournalBMJ Open
Issue number10
Published11 Oct 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information: Funding This work was supported by the ESRC Centre for Society and Mental Publisher Copyright: © Author(s) (or their employer(s)) 2021.

King's Authors


Objectives To analyse the empirical support of the functional ability concept in the healthy ageing framework developed by the WHO in a sample of the Philippine older population. According to this framework, environmental factors may enhance or hinder functional ability, which is the person's ability to do what they value, broadly represented by subjective well-being. Moreover, this network of relationships may be moderated by personal characteristics such as gender. Design Cross-sectional observational study. Setting Philippines, general population. Participants Respondents of the 2016 National Disability Prevalence Survey/Model Functioning Survey aged 50+ (N=2825). Primary and secondary outcome measures Latent (unobserved) measures of functional ability, environmental factors (physical environmental factors and social network and support) and subjective well-being (positive affect, negative affect and evaluative well-being) were obtained from different items from the survey questionnaire using a SEM framework. Results We found that the relationship between environmental factors and the three components of subjective well-being considered in this study was partially explained by differences in functional ability. The portion of those effects accounted for by functional ability was comparatively larger for the physical than for the social environmental factors. We found no evidences of gender differences in this network of relationships. Conclusions These findings suggest the relevance of functional ability at explaining the relationship between environmental factors and subjective well-being in older adults. Future studies may replicate these findings longitudinally and including other relevant measures as the person's objective level of intrinsic capacity.

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