Psychological distress as a key component of psychosocial functioning in community-dwelling older people
Objectives: To explore the key components representative of measures of psychosocial functioning with a focus on identifying the constituents of psychological distress in an Irish sample of community-dwelling older adults and to examine the relationship between these components and health outcomes such as frailty. Method: Cross-sectional observational study at the Technology Research for Independent Living (TRIL) Clinic, a comprehensive geriatric assessment facility in St. James's Hospital, Dublin. In this study, 579 participants were given eight primary assessments (Centre for Epidemiological Studies of Depression, Geriatric Adverse Life Events Scale, Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index, De Jong-Gierveld Scale, Practitioner Assessment of Network Type, Eysenck Personality Inventory, Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale, Lubben Social Network Scale) and a broad range of health and demographic secondary assessments. Principal factor analysis identified the core components relating to psychosocial functioning. Following this, the regression factors of these components were correlated with health outcomes. Results: The first of three components identified accounted for 9.08% of the variance and related to a core internal component of psychological distress. The two other components related to external and physiological functioning, specifically social support networks and sleep. Spearman's Rho correlations indicated significant associations of walking speed, age, Berg Balance Scale and living alone with all three components. Additionally, the core component of psychological distress significantly correlated with the Fried Frailty Index, illness co-morbidity, ADL, IADL and nutrition. Conclusion: These results characterise the variation in psychosocial functioning in older adults and identifies psychological distress as a core facet of psychosocial functioning which has associations with frailty. © 2012 Copyright Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.