Frailty does not cause all frail symptoms: United States Health and Retirement Study

Yi Sheng Chao, Chao Jung Wu, June Y.T. Po, Shih Yu Huang, Hsing Chien Wu, Hui Ting Hsu, Yen Po Cheng, Yi Chun Lai, Wei Chih Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background Frailty is associated with major health outcomes. However, the relationships between frailty and frailty symptoms haven’t been well studied. This study aims to show the associations between frailty and frailty symptoms. Methods The Health and Retirement Study (HRS) is an ongoing longitudinal biannual survey in the United States. Three of the most used frailty diagnoses, defined by the Functional Domains Model, the Burden Model, and the Biologic Syndrome Model, were reproduced according to previous studies. The associations between frailty statuses and input symptoms were assessed using odds ratios and correlation coefficients. Results The sample sizes, mean ages, and frailty prevalence matched those reported in previous studies. Frailty statuses were weakly correlated with each other (coefficients = 0.19 to 0.38, p < 0.001 for all). There were 49 input symptoms identified by these three models. Frailty statuses defined by the three models were not significantly correlated with one or two symptoms defined by the same models (p > 0.05 for all). One to six symptoms defined by the other two models were not significantly correlated with each of the three frailty statuses (p > 0.05 for all). Frailty statuses were significantly correlated with their own bias variables (p < 0.05 for all). Conclusion Frailty diagnoses lack significant correlations with some of their own frailty symptoms and some of the frailty symptoms defined by the other two models. This finding raises questions like whether the frailty symptoms lacking significant correlations with frailty statuses could be included to diagnose frailty and whether frailty exists and causes frailty symptoms.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0272289
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number11 November
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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