Social Indicators Research

, Volume 69, Issue 1, pp 1-36

First online:

An Integrational Model of Quality of Life in Older Age. Results from the ESRC/MRC HSRC Quality of Life Survey in Britain

  • Ann BowlingAffiliated withDepartment of Primary Care and Population Sciences, University College London
  • , Zahava GabrielAffiliated withDepartment of Primary Care and Population Sciences, University College London

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This paper is based on the results of anational survey of the quality of life of 999randomly sampled people aged 65 and over,living at home in Britain. The survey wassemi-structured, and a sample of surveyrespondents was followed up and interviewedin-depth in order to explore their perceptionsof quality of life in full. Comparisons aremade here between the results of (i) ahierarchical multiple regression model basedon theoretically derived indicators of survey respondents' ratings of their overall quality of life, with (ii) the samerespondents' own definitions of quality oflife, categorised from their responses toopen ended survey questions, and (iii) theviews of a sub-sample of these survey respondents who were subsequently interviewed in greater depth. Respondents were asked theopen ended questions on quality of life at theoutset of the survey interview in order toprevent any respondent bias from thestructured measures used.The core components, and the central planks,of quality of life, which were consistentlyemphasised by the three approaches, were psychological characteristics and outlook,health and functional status, personal andneighbourhood social capital. The lay modelsalso emphasised the importance of financialcircumstances and independence, which need tobe incorporated into a definition of broader quality of life.