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European Journal of Ageing

, Volume 1, Issue 1, pp 6–14 | Cite as

Social inequality in the later life: cross-national comparison of quality of life

  • Andreas Motel-KlingebielEmail author
  • Hans-Joachim von Kondratowitz
  • Clemens Tesch-Römer
Original Investigation

Abstract

This paper analyses quality of life and inequality in old age in an international comparative and a life course perspective. Quality of life is seen as an outcome of unequal chances in life. We distinguish between overall and domain specific expressions of quality of life which allows us to analyse the determinants of overall quality of life and their development over the life course. The data presented come from the research project “OASIS - Old Age and Autonomy: The Role of Service Systems and Intergenerational Family Solidarity”. This data set is based on an age stratified random sample of the urban population (25–102 years) in Norway, England, Germany, Spain, and Israel (n=6,106). With advancing age, there are decreasing mean levels and increasing variation of quality of life. With age, the impact of physical health on overall quality of life increases, while the predictive power of other domains decreases. The results support the hypothesis of differentiation as well as the age-dependency hypothesis. For both these both aspects, international comparisons show similar results in different societies. These uniform age tendencies in modern European societies point to a limited importance of societal embeddedness and support the interpretation of age group differences as being life course effects.

Keywords

Adult life course Ageing Quality of life Social inequality Subjective well-being 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andreas Motel-Klingebiel
    • 1
    Email author
  • Hans-Joachim von Kondratowitz
    • 1
  • Clemens Tesch-Römer
    • 1
  1. 1.German Centre for GerontologyManfred-von-Richthofen-Strasse 2BerlinGermany

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