A multidimensional model of the quality of life in older age

Bowling, A., Banister, D., Sutton, S., Evans, O. and Windsor, J. (2002) A multidimensional model of the quality of life in older age. Aging & Mental Health, 6(4), pp. 355-371. ISSN (print) 1360-7863


The broad aim of the research presented here was to define the constituents and indicators of quality of life (QoL) in older age, in order to offer a more multidimensional and useful model of quality of life, based on the perspectives of older people themselves. This paper focuses on the extent to which self-evaluations of global QoL are influenced by health, psychological and social variables, and social circumstances. It reports the results of a national survey of the quality of life in people aged 65 and over, living at home in Britain. Multiple regression analysis with the self-evaluation of quality of life rating as the dependent variable showed that the overall model (Model 9) of QoL indicators explained 26.7% of the variance in quality of life ratings. This is sizeable given the amorphous nature of this concept. The main independent predictors of self-rated global quality of life were: social comparisons and expectations, personality and psychological characteristics (optimism-pessimism), health and functional status and personal and neighbourhood social capital. These variables explained the highest proportion of the variance between groups in their quality of life ratings. Socio-economic indicators contributed relatively little to the model.

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