Social Stratification and Trajectories of Functional Status among Older Taiwanese

Jersey Liang, Chia-Ning Wang, Hui-Chuan Hsu, Xiao Xu, Hui-Sheng Lin, Yu-Hsuan Lin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: With a person-centered approach, this research aims to depict distinct courses of functional disability among older Taiwanese and to ascertain disparities in the probabilities of experiencing these trajectories. Methods: Data was derived from a sample of 3,975 Taiwanese aged 60 and over, initially surveyed in 1989 and subsequently surveyed in 1993, 1996, 1999, and 2003. Group based, semi-parametric mixture models (Proc Traj) were employed to identify distinct trajectories of functional status. Results: Four major trajectories were identified: (1) excellent functional health (48.2%), (2) moderate increase in disability (35.5%), (3) accelerated increase in disability (10.7%), and (4) persistent severe disability (5.6%). Older age, female gender and lower education were associated with greater odds for poor functional trajectories. In addition, there were some ethnic differences, which could be explained by education. Conclusion: Distinct trajectories of functional health paralleling successful, usual, and pathological aging exist among older Taiwanese. The social stratification of functional trajectories among older Taiwanese resembles those observed among older Americans.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)65-94
Number of pages30
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • social stratification
  • trajectory of functional health
  • older Taiwanese
  • semi-parametric mixture models


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