Analysis of disability using WHODAS 2.0 among the middle-aged and elderly in Cinco Villas, Spain

Results have, in part, been presented at annual meetings of the National Associations of Epidemiology and Neurology.

  1. Almazán-Isla, R.N., B.A., M. Comín-Comín, M.D., Ph.D., J. Damián, M.D., Ph.D., M.P.H., E. Alcalde-Cabero, B.Sc., M.P.H., C. Ruiz, O.T., E. Franco, O.T., G. Martín, M.D., L.A. Larrosa-Montañés, M.D.e, J. de Pedro-Cuesta, M.D., Ph.D. on behalf of the DISCAP-ARAGON Research Group

eThe late Dr. Larrosa-Montañés passed away unexpectedly on February 1st, 2011.

Disability and Health Journal, Vol. 7, Issue 1, p78–87
Published online: September 27, 2013


The prevalence of disability, as defined by the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF), among the middle-aged and elderly population is poorly known.


To determine disability prevalence in a resident population sample aged ≥50 years, in the Cinco Villas district, Spain, from June 2008 through June 2009.


We used the WHODAS 2.0 36-item questionnaire to quantify the prevalence of disability, globally and by domain, together with a 13-item combined measure of three domains, Getting around, Self-care and Life activities, claimed to reflect the need of integrated services. In addition, we performed exploratory analyses of the relationship between disability and different variables using ordinal logistic regression.


Disability was detected by global WHODAS score in 604 of a total of 1214 persons, i.e., a prevalence of 49.8% 95% CI (46.9–52.5), with the corresponding figures for mild, moderate, severe, and extreme disability being 26.8%, 16.0%, 7.6% and 0.1%, respectively. Disability increased with age, was higher among women, and for specific domains. Prevalence of severe/extreme disability among women vs. men was as follows: Getting around, 26.8% vs. 12.1%; Life activities, 25.2% vs. 6.8%; and Self-care, 9.5% vs. 6.0%. Disability was more frequent among subjects diagnosed with dementia, chronic liver disease, severe mental disease, and stroke. The abovementioned 13-item measure yielded prevalence figures for disability levels quite similar to those obtained using 36-item scores.


For the first time, this study furnishes detailed disability prevalence figures and data on associated variables in a middle-aged and elderly Western population.