Applied Research in Quality of Life

, Volume 10, Issue 3, pp 459-471

First online:

Mental Health in Late Adulthood: What Can Preserve It?

  • Maria Chiara FastameAffiliated withDepartment of Pedagogy, Psychology, Philosophy, University of Cagliari Email author 
  • , Maria Pietronilla PennaAffiliated withDepartment of Pedagogy, Psychology, Philosophy, University of Cagliari
  • , Paul Kenneth HitchcottAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, Southampton Solent University

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The current research investigates the part played by several socio-demographic factors, lifestyle and cognitive efficiency in predicting self-rated depressive signs in late adulthood. One hundred and ninety-one healthy adults were recruited in Northern Italy and Sardinia—an Italian island located in the Mediterranean sea known for the longevity of its elderly people—from urban and rural areas. Participants were assigned to old (60–74 years) and very old (75–99 years) groups, and were administered cognitive efficiency and self-referent depression measures. Gender and region of residence were the best predictors of self-rated depression scores. Furthermore, Sardinian participants, especially those from rural areas, showed better preserved mental health than respondents from Northern Italy. Positive aging is more evident in Sardinia, especially in rural areas, where the maintenance of an adequate social status and physical activity help guarantee a positive level of mental health in later life.


Aging Depression Predictors Mental health Rural Urban