NYMC Faculty Publications


Development, Construct Validity, and Predictive Validity of a Continuous Frailty Scale: Results from Two Large U.S. Cohorts

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August 2018


Epidemiology and Community Health


Frailty is an age-related clinical syndrome of decreased resilience to stressors. Among numerous assessments of frailty, the frailty phenotype (FP) scale, proposed by Fried and colleagues has been the most widely used one. We aimed to develop a continuous frailty scale that may overcome limitations facing the categorical FP scale and to evaluate its construct validity, predictive validity, and measurement properties. Data were from the Cardiovascular Health Study (N = 4243) and Health and Retirement Study (N = 7600). Frailty was conceptualized as a continuous construct, measured by five measures used in FP scale: gait speed, grip strength, exhaustion, physical activity, and weight loss. We used confirmatory factor analysis to investigate the relationship between five indicators and the latent frailty construct. We examined the association of the continuous frailty scale with mortality and disability. The unidimensional model fit the data satisfactorily; similar factor structure was observed across two cohorts. Gait speed and weight loss were the strongest and weakest indicators, respectively; grip strength, exhaustion, and physical activity had similar strength in measuring frailty. In each cohort, the continuous frailty scale was strongly associated with mortality and disability and persisted to be associated with outcomes among robust and prefrail persons classified by the FP scale.