Life-Space Mobility Change Predicts 6-Month Mortality

Academic Article


  • Objectives: To examine 6-month change in life-space mobility as a predictor of subsequent 6-month mortality in community-dwelling older adults. Design: Prospective cohort study. Setting: Community-dwelling older adults from five Alabama counties in the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) Study of Aging. Participants: A random sample of 1,000 Medicare beneficiaries, stratified according to sex, race, and rural or urban residence, recruited between November 1999 and February 2001, followed by a telephone interview every 6 months for the subsequent 8.5 years. Measurements: Mortality data were determined from informant contacts and confirmed using the National Death Index and Social Security Death Index. Life-space was measured at each interview using the UAB Life-Space Assessment, a validated instrument for assessing community mobility. Eleven thousand eight hundred seventeen 6-month life-space change scores were calculated over 8.5 years of follow-up. Generalized linear mixed models were used to test predictors of mortality at subsequent 6-month intervals. Results: Three hundred fifty-four deaths occurred within 6 months of two sequential life-space assessments. Controlling for age, sex, race, rural or urban residence, and comorbidity, life-space score and life-space decline over the preceding 6-month interval predicted mortality. A 10-point decrease in life-space resulted in a 72% increase in odds of dying over the subsequent 6 months (odds ratio = 1.723, P <.001). Conclusions: Life-space score at the beginning of a 6-month interval and change in life-space over 6 months were each associated with significant differences in subsequent 6-month mortality. Life-space assessment may assist clinicians in identifying older adults at risk of short-term mortality.
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Kennedy RE; Sawyer P; Williams CP; Lo AX; Ritchie CS; Roth DL; Allman RM; Brown CJ
  • Start Page

  • 833
  • End Page

  • 838
  • Volume

  • 65
  • Issue

  • 4