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Journal of Aging Research
Volume 2011, Article ID 759158, 10 pages
Research Article

Shut-In? Impact of Chronic Conditions on Community Participation Restriction among Older Adults

1Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA 30333, USA
2School of Public Health, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL 60612, USA

Received 23 February 2011; Accepted 28 April 2011

Academic Editor: Basia Belza

Copyright © 2011 Kristina A. Theis and Sylvia E. Furner. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Community participation may be especially important for older adults, who are often at risk for unwanted declines in participation. We estimated the prevalence of community participation restriction (PR) due to perceived environmental barriers among older adults (≥50 years) and compared the impact among those with selected chronic conditions. Individuals with low-prevalence conditions reported high community PR (9.1–20.4%), while those with highly prevalent conditions (e.g., arthritis) had relatively low community PR (5.1–10.0%) but represented the greatest absolute numbers of condition-associated burden (>1 million). Across all conditions, more than half of those with community PR reported being restricted “always or often.” Community PR most often resulted from modifiable environmental barriers. Promising targets to reduce community PR among adults ≥50 years with chronic conditions, particularly arthritis, include building design, sidewalks/curbs, crowd control, and interventions that improve the built environment.