How indicators of socioeconomic status relate to physical functioning of older adults in three Asian societies
Zimmer,Zachary; Chayovan,Napaporn; Lin,Hui-Sheng; Natividad,Josefina N.
Research on Aging 26(2): 224-258
Publication date: 2004
The relationship between socioeconomic status and physical functioning is tested among older adults in Taiwan, Thailand, and the Philippines. Socioeconomic indicators are limited to education and income, and these are linked to several measures of functioning that are constructed using four specific items-having difficulties crouching, climbing stairs, lifting things, and walking. Depending on the outcome measure, samples are treated separately or pooled. Education is found to be associated with functional health in Taiwan but is a weaker predictor in Thailand and the Philippines. Income has strong associations in Taiwan and Thailand and only a moderate association in the Philippines. Interaction effects based on pooled data confirm that differences in associations exist across settings. These results lead to questions about the universality of the relationship. Explanations for differential effects are discussed, including the impact of national levels of development on health outcomes.