Determinants of Frailty

Robbert J. Gobbens*, Marcel A. L. M. van Assen, Katrien Ger Luijkx, Maria Th. Wijnen-Sponselee, Jos M. G. A. Schols

*Corresponding author for this work

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Objectives: To determine which determinants predict frailty and domains of frailty (physical, psychological, social) in a community-dwelling sample of elderly persons. Design: Cross-sectional. Setting: Community-based. Participants: A representative sample of 484 community-dwelling persons aged 75 years and older. Measurements: The Tilburg Frailty Indicator (TFI), a self-report questionnaire, was used to collect information about determinants of frailty and to assess frailty and domains of frailty (physical, psychological, social). Results: Results were obtained by regression and mediation analyses. The 10 determinants explain about 35% of the variance of frailty. After controlling for other determinants, medium income, an unhealthy lifestyle, and multimorbidity predicted frailty. The effects of other determinants differed across domains of frailty; age predicted physical frailty, life events predicted psychological frailty, whereas being a woman predicted social frailty because older women have a higher probability of living alone. Conclusion: Our finding that the effect of the determinants of frailty differs across frailty domains suggests that it is essential to divide the concept of frailty into domains. (J Am Med Dir Assoc 2010; 11: 356-364)
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)356-364
JournalJournal of the American Medical Directors Association
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2010


  • Frailty
  • elderly
  • determinants
  • integral definition
  • multimorbidity
  • mediation

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