Age, disability, and the sense of mastery.

Academic Article


  • Are there age differences in the sense of mastery, independent of physical disability? Do age and disability have joint effects on mastery? We propose that both age and disability have independent and synergistic effects on the sense of mastery or control. We analyze data from a large community sample of disabled individuals and a comparison of nondisabled respondents. Our study finds that, indeed, disabled and older respondents report lower levels of mastery. Moreover, the influence of disability on mastery is conditioned by age--and the interaction differs across age groups. In addition, our findings suggest that disabled individuals are disadvantaged in the status variables traditionally associated with greater control. When we adjust for these status variables, we reduce the strength of a quadratic age by disability interaction term considerably. The patterns we find in mastery among those individuals in their middle-years suggest to us that disabled and nondisabled individuals may live out their lives with differential opportunities for attainment and that this inequality has implications for their sense of mastery. Our findings reveal complex nonlinear and synergistic associations among age, disability, and the sense of mastery and raise provocative questions for future research.
  • Authors

  • Schieman, S
  • Turner, Heather
  • Status

    Publication Date

  • September 1998
  • Published In


  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging
  • Disabled Persons
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Self Concept
  • Social Conditions
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Pubmed Id

  • 9785691
  • Start Page

  • 169
  • End Page

  • 186
  • Volume

  • 39
  • Issue

  • 3