Sex, Nativity, and Disability in Older Mexican Americans

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To examine the effect of nativity and sex on activities of daily living (ADLs) and mobility limitations in older Mexican Americans.




Hispanic Established Population for the Epidemiological Study of the Elderly (Hispanic EPESE) (2004–05).


Noninstitutionalized Mexican Americans aged 75 and older (N = 2,069; 56.3% U.S. born, 43.7% Mexican born).


Sociodemographic characteristics, self-reported medical conditions (arthritis, cancer, diabetes mellitus, stroke, heart attack, hip fracture), ADLs, and gross mobility function.


The prevalence of ADL limitation was 32.9% in U.S.-born participants and 33.9% in Mexican-born participants of mobility limitation was 56.6% in U.S.-born participants and 55.6% in Mexican-born participants. Mexican-born participants tended to report less ADL limitation (odds ratio (OR) = 0.79, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.59–1.05)) after controlling for sociodemographic variables and medical conditions. They were also less likely to report mobility limitation (OR = 0.64, 95% CI = 0.48–0.86) after controlling for all covariates. There was a significant effect of the interaction between nativity and sex (OR = 0.42, 95% CI = 0.24–0.74) on ADL limitation, suggesting that Mexican-born men were less disabled than U.S.-born men, whereas the opposite was true for women. No significant interaction between nativity and sex was found for mobility limitation.


Mexican-born men were less disabled than their U.S.-born counterparts, and Mexican-born women were more likely to report disability than Mexican-born men.

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