The frailty identity crisis

Howard Fillit, Robert N. Butler

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

97 Scopus citations


Frailty is a common and central problem of old age. Recent research has defined frailty as an accumulation of deficits or as a distinct clinical syndrome involving specific comorbid physical disorders and functional impairment, but the psychological aspects of frailty have received little attention. It is proposed that the onset of frailty is associated with an identity crisis, a psychological stage of adult development termed the "frailty identity crisis." This framework could be useful to focus attention on the psychological aspects of frailty for research and clinical purposes. Early detection, management, and counseling of individuals experiencing the frailty identity crisis has implications for the health and quality of life of frail individuals, their loved ones and caregivers, and society.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)348-352
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of the American Geriatrics Society
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2009


  • Frailty
  • Health economics and geriatric syndromes
  • Neuropsychology


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