Variable Details

Available Studies

ROS, MAP, MARS, Clinical Core, LATC


Not Scaled

Variable Type 


Variable Name 




Instrumental activities of daily living
Instrumental activities of daily living - Sum of 8 items

Instrumental activities of daily living (IADL) is a composite measure of disability using a sum of 8 items adapted from the Duke Older Americans Resources and Services project. The scale measures IADLs such as household management and self-care functions, which are required for independent living:

  1. telephone use
  2. meal preparation
  3. light housekeeping
  4. heavy housekeeping
  5. handling medications
  6. handling finances
  7. traveling within the community
  8. shopping

Participants are asked to report need for help/assistance in performing the IADLs. Responses are then dichotomized into 0 = no help and 1 = requires help or unable to do (see below). The composite measure ranges from 0 to 8 and is the sum of the number of items for which participants report the need for help/assistance, with higher scores indicating greater disability.

Participants are asked the following 8 questions:

Are you able to [insert 1-8 below] completely by yourself or does someone else help you?
1. use the telephone - including looking up numbers and dialing
2. prepare your own meals
3. do routine light housekeeping
4. do periodic heavy housekeeping
5. take your own prescribed medicines
6. take care of your own finances - including paying bills, writing checks, keeping track of income (but not necessarily preparing your own taxes)
7. travel around in your community to the places you might want to go, like the church or just to be outside
8. do your own personal shopping, like for clothes, for personal things, or for household needs

Response choices for each item:

Response Response code Dichotomized value
No help 1 0
Help 2 1
Unable to do 3 1