Correlates of Frailty among Aging Residents of upper Selška Valley Villages under Ratitovec Mountain

Maruska Vidovic, Genevieve Sharron, Douglas E. Crews


Frailty, multi-system dysregulation following multiple life stressors, is associated with age and vulnerability to negative health. Our model is that variables such as age and sex affect biocultural changes resulting from lifestyle and alter frailty. We assessed frailty with a four-factor index. We expand understanding of frailty by examining associations with demographic, health, and lifestyle factors in a Slovenian sample. Between 2008 and 2009, 40 residents of the Selska Valley, Slovenia aged 55 to 85 years (x ̅ = 72. 85, sd = 7.24) participated in physical assessments, responded to the SF-36, and self-reported their own and family history of non-communicable diseases. Participants included 26 women (age 59-86) and 14 men (age 57-82). We used linear regression and t-tests to assess associations of these factors with frailty. Frailty was significantly positively associated with age, sex, length of residence in the village, and multiple self-reported health factors. Conversely, frailty was significantly negatively associated with height and showed a borderline significant association with diastolic blood pressure. Controlling for age and sex, significant associations remained between frailty and self-reports of health along with painful and reduced activity levels. Frailty also interacts with lifestyle factors. Results suggest the model proposed by Walston and colleagues (2005) is a valid cross-cultural measure of frailty


biomarkers, elders, SF-36, physical activity, male-female differences

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