Quality of Life Research

, Volume 19, Issue 2, pp 293–298 | Cite as

The importance of facets of quality of life to older adults: an international investigation

  • Anita Molzahn
  • Suzanne M. Skevington
  • Mary Kalfoss
  • Kara Schick Makaroff



To describe the relative importance of 38 facets of quality of life (QOL) to older adults in 22 countries, by gender, age group, and health status.


A secondary analysis of data was conducted from the WHOQOL-Old pilot study. Questionnaires were distributed by mail or in person. Independent t-tests for differences between means were calculated between importance scores by genders, age groups, and healthy/unhealthy participants. Hierarchical multiple regression analysis was used to identify which QOL facets explained importance of overall QOL.


Of 7,401 older adults from 22 countries (mean 73.1 years), 57.8% were women and 70.1% were ‘healthy’. While there are significant differences in the importance of various facets of QOL on the basis of gender, age, and health status, when these variables were controlled in a stepwise multiple regression analysis, the most important QOL facets were having energy, being happy, having well-functioning senses, and being free from pain.


It appears that many of the physical aspects of QOL such as energy, freedom from pain, ability to do activities of daily living and to move around are particularly important to older adults. Practitioners should give greater attention to energy, sensory abilities, and pain.


Ageing World Health Organization Quality of Life Cross-cultural comparisons 



Activities of daily living


Human Development Index


Quality of life


Schedule for the Evaluation of Individual Quality of Life


Schedule for the Evaluation of Individual Quality of Life (Direct Weighting)


World Health Organization, Quality of Life Assessment


World Health Organization, Quality of Life Assessment of Older Adults



The authors gratefully acknowledge the contributions of the WHOQOL-OLD Group, who collected the data used in this study. 1 The WHOQOL-OLD group is composed of: Prof. M. Power, K. Quinn (University of Edinburgh, UK); Dr. R. Lucas (Institut Català de l’Envelliement, Barcelona, Spain); Prof. S. Skevington (University of Bath, UK); Prof. M. Amir*, Dr. Y. B. Ya’acov, T. Narkiss-Guez (Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Beer-Sheva, Israel); Prof. L. Kullman (National Institute for Medical Rehabilitation, Budapest, Hungary); G. Bech-Anderson (Fredriksborg General Hospital, Copenhagen, Denmark); Prof. Ji-Qian Fang (Sun Yat-Sen University of Medical Science, Guangzhou, China); Prof. G. Hawthorne (University of Melbourne, Australia); Prof. M.C. Angermeyer, Dr. H. Matschinger, I. Winkler (University of Leipzig, Germany); Dr. M. Kalfoss (Diakonova University College, Oslo, Norway); Dr. E. Dragomirecka (Prague Psychiatric Centre, Czech Republic); Dr. M. Tazaki (University of Tokyo, Japan); Prof. M. Eisemann (Tromsø University, Norway), B. Nygren (Umea University, Sweden); Prof. A. Molzahn (University of Alberta, Canada); Dr. J. Ceremnych (Scientific Department of Gerontology, Vilnius, Lithuania); Dr. R. Krech (WHO Europe, Copenhagen, Denmark); Dr. M. Fleck (University of the State of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil); Prof. E. Eser (Celal Bayar University, Turkey); Prof. N. v. Steinbüchel (University of Genf, Switzerland); Dr. A. LePlege (INSERM, Paris, France); Dr. D. Bushnell (University of Washington, Seattle, USA); Dr. A. Chan (Queen Elisabeth Hospital Kowloon, Hong Kong); Dr. L. Schwartzmann (Department of Medical Psychology, Montevideo, Uruguay), Dr. R. Kilian (University of Ulm, Germany).

*We note with great sadness the death of Dr. Marianne Amir in January 2004.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anita Molzahn
    • 1
  • Suzanne M. Skevington
    • 2
  • Mary Kalfoss
    • 3
  • Kara Schick Makaroff
    • 4
  1. 1.University of AlbertaEdmontonCanada
  2. 2.University of BathBathUK
  3. 3.Diakonova University CollegeOsloNorway
  4. 4.University of VictoriaVictoriaCanada

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