Detecting and categorizing frailty status in older adults using a self-report screening instrument

Philipe de Souto Barreto, Carolyn Greig, Anne-Marie Ferrandez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to design and validate a self-reported assessment tool for the identification of frailty.

Materials and methods: A thousand community-dwelling older adults (≥60 years), users of the medical insurance of the French national education system, received (Year 1) a postal questionnaire requesting information about health and socio-demographic characteristics. Among those who responded to the questionnaire (n=535), 398 individuals were classified as frail, pre-frail, or robust. One year later (Year 2), the same questionnaire was sent to this group and n=309 were returned. Frailty was operationalized using four criteria: low body mass index (BMI), low level of physical activity, and dissatisfaction with both muscle strength and endurance.

Results: Frailty constituted a single entity, different from physical limitation and co-morbidity. Compared with robust individuals, frail persons were older, had more chronic diseases, higher levels of disability and physical function decline. Pre-frail individuals had an intermediate distribution. Those people classified as either frail or pre-frail had higher frequency of hospitalization, and a higher probability of co-morbidity than robust. Frailty was also associated with higher mortality.

Conclusions: Our screening tool for frailty was able to evidence important characteristics of this syndrome, i.e., it is a single entity with grades of severity which are associated with health problems. Detecting and categorizing frailty may lead to early therapeutic interventions to combat this condition.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e249-e254
JournalArchives of Gerontology and Geriatrics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2012


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