Back to Journals » Clinical Interventions in Aging » Volume 10

A comparison between uni- and multidimensional frailty measures: prevalence, functional status, and relationships with disability

Authors Roppolo M, Mulasso A, Gobbens R, Mosso C, Rabaglietti E

Received 13 July 2015

Accepted for publication 18 August 2015

Published 22 October 2015 Volume 2015:10 Pages 1669—1678


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Richard Walker

Mattia Roppolo,1,2 Anna Mulasso,1 Robbert J Gobbens,3,4 Cristina O Mosso,1 Emanuela Rabaglietti1

1Department of Psychology, University of Torino, Torino, Italy; 2Department of Developmental Psychology, Rijksuniversiteit Groningen, Groningen, the Netherlands; 3Faculty of Health, Sports and Social Work, Inholland University of Applied Sciences, Amsterdam, the Netherlands; 4Zonnehuisgroep Amstelland, Amstelveen, the Netherlands

Background: Over the years, a plethora of frailty assessment tools has been developed. These instruments can be basically grouped into two types of conceptualizations – unidimensional, based on the physical–biological dimension – and multidimensional, based on the connections among the physical, psychological, and social domains. At present, studies on the comparison between uni- and multidimensional frailty measures are limited.
Objective: The aims of this paper were: 1) to compare the prevalence of frailty obtained using a uni- and a multidimensional measure; 2) to analyze differences in the functional status among individuals captured as frail or robust by the two measures; and 3) to investigate relations between the two frailty measures and disability.
Methods: Two hundred and sixty-seven community-dwelling older adults (73.4±6 years old, 59.9% of women) participated in this cross-sectional study. The Cardiovascular Health Study (CHS) index and the Tilburg Frailty Indicator (TFI) were used to measure frailty in a uni- and multidimensional way, respectively. The International Physical Activity Questionnaire, the Center of Epidemiologic Studies Depression scale, and the Loneliness Scale were administered to evaluate the functional status. Disability was assessed using the Groningen Activity Restriction Scale. Data were treated with descriptive statistics, one-way analysis of variance, correlations, and receiver operating characteristic analyses through the evaluation of the areas under the curve.
Results: Results showed that frailty prevalence rate is strictly dependent on the index used (CHS =12.7%; TFI =44.6%). Furthermore, frail individuals presented differences in terms of functional status in all the domains. Frailty measures were significantly correlated with each other (r=0.483), and with disability (CHS: r=0.423; TFI: r=0.475). Finally, the area under the curve of the TFI (0.833) for disability was higher with respect to the one of CHS (0.770).
Conclusion: Data reported here confirm that different instruments capture different frail individuals. Clinicians and researchers have to consider the different abilities of the two measures to detect frail individuals.

Keywords: functional decline, older adults, health outcomes, active aging, indexes selection

Creative Commons License This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited. The full terms of this license are available at and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution - Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License. By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed. For permission for commercial use of this work, please see paragraphs 4.2 and 5 of our Terms.

Download Article [PDF]  View Full Text [HTML][Machine readable]