Time Trends in Disability Trajectories in Germany between 1984-1987 and 1995-1998: A Study Based on the German Socioeconomic Panel

Gabriele Doblhammer, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research

In this article we explore changes in disability trajectories between the 1980s and the 1990s. Similar disability trajectories are identified by a cluster analysis in the two time periods, however, their relative frequency changes over time. At young ages (50 to 69) healthy trajectories became more frequent while disability trajectories involving severe disability lost importance. At old ages (70-79) moderate and severe disability trajectories gained importance while healthy trajectories became less frequent. No significant difference exists at ages 80+. Attrition became less frequent in the second time period than in the first. In addition to structural changes in the ten-year age groups this may explain the increasing proportion of decedents in the second time period. We find sex-specific differences in the changing distribution of frequencies over time. The reduction of unfavorable health trajectories is stronger among males than females. This is particularly true for the trajectory stable severe disability.

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Presented in Session 59: Late life Disability: Trends, Measurement and Policy Implications