Relationship among physical impairment, distress, and well-being in older adults

Alex J. Zautra, Barbara M. Maxwell, John W. Reich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


The relationship between activity limitation and self-report on a variety of mental health measures was investigated through a longitudinal study of 124 noninstitutionalized older adults between 60 and 80 years of age, recruited either as recently disabled (N=62) or as a matched control (N=62). Fifty-five of these respondents (disabled, n=28; controls, n=27) selected persons who could be contacted to provide informant information. Results showed the relationship between disability and mental health measures to be highly significant and stable across time. Further older adults classified as severely disabled experienced higher levels of anxiety, suicidal ideation, and overall distress than did the moderately disabled participants. Evidence was found for reciprocal causal relationships between health and mental health. Informants' reports supported findings based on self-report.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)543-557
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Behavioral Medicine
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 1989


  • elderly
  • physical disability
  • psychological distress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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