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Abstract

The purpose of this study was to utilize the disablement pathway model to examine the contribution of physical function, dyspnea, and pain to disability in activities-of-daily-living (ADL) in culturally diverse older adults. Participants were 51 older adults (age = 69.0 years ± 9.7; 76.5% African-American, 51.0% < high school education, 52.9% < $20,000 annual income) from an urban community center and an independent living housing facility for seniors. Participants completed the Functional Status Index (FSI), which provides ratings of need for assistance (FSIA) and pain (FSIP) with ADL, the Continuous Scale Physical Functional Performance 10-item Test (CS-PFP10), and an analog dyspnea scale. Hierarchical multiple regression analyses revealed that facility, physical function, pain, and dyspnea accounted for 50.5% of the variance in disability and that pain (β = .43, p < .01) and physical function (β = -.39, p < .01) were the only significant predictors. In the second model, facility, dyspnea, and pain explained 27.6% of the variance in physical function, and facility (β = .39, p < .01) and dyspnea (β = -.26, p = .05) were the only significant predictors. Based on the disablement pathway model, physical functional improvement and pain prevention and management should be targeted when designing culturally appropriate strategies for delaying disability and maintaining independent life.