Aging Clinical and Experimental Research

, Volume 24, Issue 1, pp 68–73 | Cite as

Physical function and perceived quality of life in older persons

  • Oriana Fusco
  • Alessandro Ferrini
  • Michaela Santoro
  • Maria Rita Lo Monaco
  • Giovanni Gambassi
  • Matteo CesariEmail author
Original Article


Background and aims: Physical function and quality of life represent two major components of multidimensional evaluation in older people. The aim of the study was to verify which specific physical function measure is a more important predictor of quality of life in these individuals. Methods: Data are from 73 community-dwelling older persons attending a geriatric cardiovascular clinic. Linear regressions and analyses of covariance were performed to explore the relationships between physical function measures (4-meter walking test [4mWS], Short Physical Performance Battery [SPPB], Activities of Daily Living [ADL], and Instrumental ADL [IADL]) and quality of life (assessed using the European Quality of Life [EuroQoL] instrument). To provide fair comparisons across all the physical function measures, results were provided according to their increase in standard deviation (SD). Results: The mean age of the sample population (women 52%) was 77.6 (SD=8.3) years old. Given significant gender interactions between physical function and quality of life, separate analyses were conducted for men and women. In women, all physical function measures were significantly associated with quality of life measures in unadjusted models (p-values<0.05). The EuroQoL visual analogic scale maintained its significant associations with SPPB, ADL and IADL, even after adjustment for potential confounders. In men, no physical function measure was consistently associated with quality of life in the fully-adjusted models. Gender-specific differences in the perception of quality of life were reported for disabilities in specific IADL tasks. Conclusions: Physical function is associated with quality of life in older persons. In particular, disabilities in some specific IADL tasks seem to be especially perceived by women as undermining their quality of life. The use of the IADL scale in men may not be as reliable as in women.

Key words

Activities of daily living gait speed instrumental activities of daily living older adults quality of life short physical performance battery 


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Copyright information

© Springer Internal Publishing Switzerland 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Oriana Fusco
    • 1
    • 3
  • Alessandro Ferrini
    • 2
  • Michaela Santoro
    • 1
    • 3
  • Maria Rita Lo Monaco
    • 1
    • 3
  • Giovanni Gambassi
    • 1
    • 3
  • Matteo Cesari
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Gerontology, GeriatricsCatholic University of the Sacred HeartRomeItaly
  2. 2.Department of GeriatricsCampus Bio-Medico UniversityRomaItaly
  3. 3.Physical MedicineCatholic University of the Sacred HeartRomeItaly

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