Purpose of the study: “Life-space” is the spatial area through which a person experiences and interacts with the world.
Life-space constriction, the shrinking of the spatial area that a person traverses, is associated with negative health outcomes
in later life. Racial and gender disparities in mobility as indicated by life-space constriction are thought to contribute to
broader disparities in health and functioning among older adults.
Design and Methods: Data come from the 5-year follow-up of the Advanced Cognitive Training for Independent and Vital
Elderly (ACTIVE) Study (N = 2,765; mean age = 73.6; 75.8% women; 73.7% White). Life-space constriction was defined
as “not traveling beyond one’s town.” A series of logistic regression and Cox proportional hazard models were used to
estimate risk for incident life-space constriction by race and gender.
Results: Blacks and women had greater likelihood of life-space constriction at baseline. Women were more likely to experience
incident life-space constriction at follow-up relative to men (Hazard ratio [HR]: 1.89, 95% Confidence interval [CI]:
1.26–2.83). Blacks were associated with lower risk of life-space constriction over time (HR: 0.67, 95% CI: 0.45–0.99)
relative to Whites.
Implications: Disparities in life-space constriction by gender and race exist in later life. Understanding the processes underlying
these mobility restrictions is important to developing intervention programs to enhance health and functioning for