Construct validity of the Groningen Frailty Indicator established in a large sample of home-dwelling elderly persons: Evidence of stability across age and gender

L. L. Peters, H. Boter, J. G.M. Burgerhof, J. P.J. Slaets, E. Buskens

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Background: The primary objective of the present study was to evaluate the validity of the Groningen Frailty Indicator (GFI) in a sample of Dutch elderly persons participating in LifeLines, a large population-based cohort study. Additional aims were to assess differences between frail and non-frail elderly and examine which individual characteristics were associated with frailty. Methods: By December 2012, 5712 elderly persons were enrolled in LifeLines and complied with the inclusion criteria of the present study. Mann-Whitney U or Kruskal-Wallis tests were used to assess the variability of GFI-scores among elderly subgroups that differed in demographic characteristics, morbidity, obesity, and healthcare utilization. Within subgroups Kruskal-Wallis tests were also used to examine differences in GFI-scores across age groups. Multivariate logistic regression analyses were performed to assess associations between individual characteristics and frailty. Results: The GFI discriminated between subgroups: statistically significantly higher GFI-median scores (interquartile range) were found in e.g. males (1 [0-2]), the oldest old (2 [1-3]), in elderly who were single (1 [0-2]), with lower socio economic status (1 [0-3]), with increasing co-morbidity (2 [1-3]), who were obese (2 [1-3]), and used more healthcare (2 [1-4]). Overall age had an independent and statistically significant association with GFI scores. Compared with the non-frail, frail elderly persons experienced statistically significantly more chronic stress and more social/psychological related problems. In the multivariate logistic regression model, psychological morbidity had the strongest association with frailty. Conclusion: The present study supports the construct validity of the GFI and provides an insight in the characteristics of (non)frail community-dwelling elderly persons participating in LifeLines.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)129-141
Number of pages13
JournalExperimental gerontology
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Cohort study
  • Construct validity
  • Frailty
  • Groningen frailty indicator
  • Measures
  • Morbidity
  • Obesity

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