Can resources moderate the impact of levels of frailty on adverse outcomes among (pre-) frail older people? A longitudinal study

Linda P. M. Op Het Veld*, Bart H. L. Ament, Erik van Rossum, Gertrudis I. J. M. Kempen, Henrica C. W. de Vet, KlaasJan Hajema, Anna J. H. M. Beurskens

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background: Higher levels of frailty result in higher risks of adverse frailty outcomes such as hospitalisation and mortality. There are, however, indications that more factors than solely frailty play a role in the development of these outcomes. The presence of resources, e.g. sufficient income and good self-management abilities, might slow down the pathway from level of frailty to adverse outcomes (e.g. mortality). In the present paper we studied whether resources (i.e. educational level, income, availability of informal care, living situation, sense of mastery and self-management abilities) moderate the impact of the level of frailty on the adverse outcomes mortality, hospitalisation and the development of disability over a two-year period.

Methods: Longitudinal data on a sample of 2420 community-dwelling pre-frail and frail older people were collected. Participants filled out a questionnaire every six months, including measures of frailty, resources and outcomes. To study the moderating effects of the selected resources their interaction effects with levels of frailty on outcomes were studied by means of multiple logistics and linear regression models.

Results: Frail older participants had increased odds of mortality and hospitalisation, and had more deteriorating disability scores compared to their pre-frail counterparts. No moderating effects of the studied resources were found for the outcomes mortality and hospitalisation. Only for the outcome disability statistically significant moderating effects were present for the resources income and living situation, yet these effects were in the opposite direction to what we expected. Overall, the studied resources showed hardly any statistically significant moderating effects and the directions of the trends were inconsistent.

Conclusions: Frail participants were more at risk of mortality, hospitalisation, and an increase in disability. However, we were unable to demonstrate a clear moderating effect of the studied resources on the adverse outcomes associated with frailty (among pre-frail and frail participants). More research is needed to increase insight into the role of moderating factors. Other resources or outcome measures should be considered.

Original languageEnglish
Article number185
Number of pages8
JournalBMC Geriatrics
Publication statusPublished - 17 Aug 2017


  • Frailty
  • Older people
  • Resources
  • Moderating factors
  • Mortality
  • Hospitalisation
  • Disability

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