Applied Research in Quality of Life

, Volume 2, Issue 1, pp 33–50 | Cite as

Life Satisfaction and Associated Factors Among People Aged 60 Years and Above in Six European Countries

  • Cecilia FagerströmEmail author
  • Christel Borg
  • Cristian Balducci
  • Vanessa Burholt
  • Clare G. Wenger
  • Dieter Ferring
  • Germain Weber
  • Göran Holst
  • Ingalill R. Hallberg


Life satisfaction is a concept frequently used to measure wellbeing of older people. However, there is still a lack of cross-national comparative research investigating factors associated with life satisfaction. There may be unique and common factors associated with life satisfaction across European countries. This study aimed to investigate life satisfaction among people aged 60–89 years in six European countries in relation to health problems, ADL capacity, self-esteem, social and financial resources. A cross-sectional study was performed, including 7,699 people aged 60–89 years, in Sweden, the UK, The Netherlands, Luxemburg, Austria and Italy, participating in the European Study of Adult Wellbeing, using questions from the Older Americans Resources and Services schedule, Multidimensional Functional Assessment Questionnaire, Life Satisfaction Index Z and Rosenberg’s Self-esteem scale. Logistic regression analysis was performed to determine factors associated with life satisfaction in the six national samples. In cases where people were less satisfied with their life it was fairly satisfactory and unsatisfactory social contacts (Odds Ratio (OR) 1.5–13.8), poor financial resources (OR 1.7–15.1), feeling greatly hindered by health problems (OR 2.2–5.4) and self-esteem (OR 2.1–5.1) rather than the ability to perform activities of daily living and the extent of social contacts that gave the greatest risk of low life satisfaction in all the six European countries. There were both common and country-specific factors important for life satisfaction in the six European countries. However, the importance of satisfactory social contacts, financial resources, self-esteem and feeling hindered by health problems seems universal in the six included countries and thus important to target in preventive interventions.


Cross-national Feeling hindered by health problems Life satisfaction Older people Self-esteem Social contacts 



The European Commission, QLRT-2001-00280, funds ESAW. The authors are solely responsible for the content of this report and it does not represent the opinion of the Community. The Community is not responsible for any use that might be made of data appearing within this report. The study represents a European sub-group of the larger global study, which aims to develop a European model of adult wellbeing, using the five key components and parallel methodology. The project has been co-ordinated by Professor G. Clare Wenger, of the University of Wales, Bangor, United Kingdom, and principal investigators have led the national research teams. The authors wish to thank all the subjects for participating in the present study. We would also like to thank Anna Condelius and John Tällberg for help with data collection and data input and Per Nyberg for help with statistics, Inger Andersson and Vicky Gatzuras for help with back-translation of the questionnaire. This work was supported by grants from the Vårdal Foundation V2000 112, Länsförsäkringar P7/01, European Commission QLRT-2001-00280, Department of Nursing, Faculty of Medicine, Lund University.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media BV/The International Society for Quality-of-Life Studies (ISQOLS) 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Cecilia Fagerström
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Christel Borg
    • 2
  • Cristian Balducci
    • 3
  • Vanessa Burholt
    • 4
  • Clare G. Wenger
    • 4
  • Dieter Ferring
    • 5
  • Germain Weber
    • 6
  • Göran Holst
    • 7
  • Ingalill R. Hallberg
    • 1
    • 8
  1. 1.Department of Health Sciences, Faculty of MedicineLund UniversityLundSweden
  2. 2.School of Health ScienceBlekinge Institute of TechnologyKarlskronaSweden
  3. 3.Department of Gerontological ResearchI.N.R.C.AAnconaItaly
  4. 4.Centre for Social Policy Research & Development, Institute of Medical and Social Care ResearchUniversity of WalesBangorUK
  5. 5.University of LuxembourgLuxembourgLuxembourg
  6. 6.Department of Clinical Psychology and HealthUniversity of ViennaViennaAustria
  7. 7.Blekinge Institute of Research & DevelopmentKarlskronaSweden
  8. 8.The Vårdal InstituteLundSweden

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