Comparisons of the Association of Family and Social Factors With Functional Limitations Across the United States, Mexico, and South Korea: Findings From the HRS Family of Surveys
Objective: The association of family and social factors with the level of functional limitations was examined across the United States, Mexico, and Korea. Method: Participants included adults from the 2012 Health and Retirement Study (n = 10,017), Mexican Health and Aging Study (n = 6,367), and Korean Longitudinal Study of Aging (n = 4,134). A common functional limitation scale was created based on Rasch analysis with a higher score indicating better physical function. Results: The American older adults (3.65 logits) had better physical function compared with Mexican (2.81 logits) and Korean older adults (1.92 logits). There were different associations of family and social factors with functional limitations across the three countries. Discussion: The American older adults demonstrated less functional limitation compared with Mexican and Korean older adults at the population level. The findings indicate the need to interpret carefully the individual family and social factors associated with functional limitations within the unique context of each country.