Frailty, Mortality, and Health-Related Quality of Life in Older Mexican Americans


Address correspondence to Meredith C. Masel, Center to Eliminate Health Disparities, The University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, TX, 301 University Blvd, Galveston, TX 77555. E-mail:


OBJECTIVES: To determine the effect of health-related quality of life (HRQOL) on the relationship between frailty status and survival in older Mexican-American adults.

DESIGN: Prospective analysis of participants in the Hispanic Established Populations for Epidemiologic Study of the Elderly.

SETTING: Urban and rural areas of five southwestern states: Arizona, California, Colorado, New Mexico, and Texas.

PARTICIPANTS: One thousand eight Mexican-American adults aged 74 to 101 interviewed between 2005 and 2006.

MEASUREMENTS: Trained interviewers collected information on patient demographics, health conditions, frailty status, HRQOL, and survival.

RESULTS: Frailty was associated with a greater odds of death (odds ratio=2.72, 95% confidence interval=1.5–5.1) over a period of 2 to 3 years. After adjusting for the physical component of HRQOL, being frail (as opposed to prefrail or nonfrail) was no longer significantly associated with mortality. The mental health component of HRQOL did not affect the relationship between frailty and mortality.

CONCLUSION: Older Mexican Americans identified as frail experienced poorer survival in this sample than their prefrail or nonfrail counterparts. Adjusting for the physical component of HRQOL attenuated poorer survival in persons categorized as frail.