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Objectives. To explore social inequalities in grip strength, SF-36 physical functioning (PF), and falls among older people. Methods. We analyzed data from 3,225 men and women (age 59-73 years) who participated in the Hertfordshire Cohort Study, United Kingdom. Car availability and home ownership were used as markers of material deprivation. Results. A total of 6.4% of men (17.7% women) had no car and 19.3% of men (23.1% women) did not own their home. Having fewer cars was associated with lower grip and poorer PF among men and women (p < .001), and increased falls among men (p < .001). Not owning one's home was associated with lower grip in men and women (p < .001) and poorer PF in men (p < .001). Lower social class was associated with falls among women only (p = .01). Discussion. There are social inequalities in grip strength, PF, and falls among older people. Interventions should consider the contribution of social inequalities to the problem.

Original publication




Journal article


J aging health

Publication Date





913 - 939


Accidental Falls, Aged, Cohort Studies, Disability Evaluation, Female, Geriatric Assessment, Hand Strength, Health Status, Health Status Disparities, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Motor Activity, Muscle Strength, Muscle Strength Dynamometer, Residence Characteristics, Socioeconomic Factors, Surveys and Questionnaires, United Kingdom