Short-term Variability of Self-report of Incontinence in Older Persons

Resnick, NM, LA Beckett, LG Branch, PA Scherr and T Wetle

J. Am. Geriatr. Soc.. 1994. 42(2):202-207.

Objective: Virtually all estimates of the prevalence and incidence of incontinence in the community rely on self- reported continence status. The goal of this study was to assess the reliability of this measure in older adults. Design: Telephone interviews administered approximately 2 weeks apart. Setting: Community-based congregate living facility. Participants: A convenience sample of approximately 100 residents was contacted by letter; 48 of 51 (94%) who indicated their willingness to participate were interviewed. They included eight men and 40 women >70 years old (79% >80 years old), virtually all of whom were independent in basic ADLs and 83% of whom reported their health as good or excellent. Measurement: Responses to a structured questionnaire. Main Results: The prevalence of urinary incontinence was 40% at baseline and 44% on re-interview; the prevalence of fecal incontinence was 17% on both occasions. All Spearman correlations for items related to urinary incontinence characteristics were between .80 and .86, except for a question related to stress incontinence (r = .62); correlations for fecal incontinence were .67-.69. Conclusion: Prevalence estimates of incontinence are stable over a 2-week period. However, the variability of individual responses, while relatively low, was within the range previously reported for estimates of incidence and remission rates of incontinence in community-dwelling elderly. This, variability should be taken into consideration when interpreting previous studies and designing future ones.

Keywords: Metaanalysis; Mega-analysis; Technology Assessment; Fish Oil; Eicosapentaenoic Acid; Rheumatoid Arthritis, Polyunsaturated Fatty-acids; Acute Myocardial-infarction; Dietary Supplementation; Clinical-trials; Docosahexaenoic Acids; Generation; Publication; Quality, Alameda County; Health; Life; Predictors; Mortality; Cohort, Dementing Illnesses; Senile Dementia; United-states; Prevalence; Periods; Lundby; Rates, Placebo-controlled Trial; Hiv; Aids; azt, Urinary-incontinence; Prevalence; Symptoms; Questionnaire; Patterns

Close Window

UC Davis Health System is pleased to provide this information for general reference purposes only. It should not be considered as a substitute for professional medical advice. You are urged to consult with your health care provider for diagnosis of and treatment for any health-related condition. The information provided herein may not and should not be used for diagnosis and treatment.

Reproduction of material on this web site is hereby granted solely for personal use. No other use of this material is authorized without prior written approval of UC Regents.