This study aims at exploring a structural model of satisfaction with life’s (SWL) predictors in a cross-national sample of older adults. A quantitative approach was followed with a cross-sectional study design. A community-dwelling sample of 1,234 older adults from four different nationalities residing in Portugal, was assessed regarding SWL, sense of coherence (SOC) and socio-demographic, lifestyle and health-related characteristics. Sampling was performed in lifelong learning centres’ message boards and local community centres’ list-serves in the Lisbon metropolitan area and in the Algarve region. Structural equation modeling was used to investigate a structural model of the self-reported SWL, comprising SOC, socio-demographic characteristics (age, sex, education, marital and professional status, household, adult children, income, living setting and religion), as well as lifestyle and health-related characteristics (physical activity, recent disease and medication). Significant predictors are SOC (β = 0.733; p < 0.001), religion (β = 0.725; p < 0.001), income (β = 0.551; p < 0.001), adult children (β = 0.546; p < 0.001), education (β = −0.403; p < 0.001), living setting (β = −0.292; p < 0.001) and medication (β = −. 197; p < 0.001). The variables accounted for 24.8 % of the variability of SWL. Moreover, differences between the four nationality groups (F(3, 671) = 3.671, p = 0.066) were not found concerning SWL. Sense of coherence is the strongest predictor of self-reported SWL. Other predictors are religion, income, adult children, education, living setting and medication. The four nationalities did not present significant differences, concerning SWL. This study points out the potential factors that influence older adults’ SWL, in particular SOC, religion and income, as promoters of aging well, within a salutogenic model of health for older populations.
Satisfaction with life Predictors Structural equation modeling Older adults Sense of coherence
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.
We kindly acknowledge the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT), for the grant [grant number SFRH/BD/44544/2008] which supported this research.
Conflict of Interest
The authors report no conflicts of interest. The authors alone are responsible for the content and writing of the paper.
The fund approved the design and aims of the study but did not play any role in the collecting of data, interpretation of results, or preparation of this article.
Ailshire, J. A., & Crimmins, E. M. (2011). Psychosocial factors associated with longevity in the United States: age differences between the old and oldest-old in the health and retirement study. Journal of Aging Research, 530–534. doi:10.4061/2011/530534
Akiyama, H., Antonucci, T., Takahashi, K., & Langfahl, E. S. (2003). Negative interactions in close relationships across the life span. The Journals of Gerontology Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences, 58, 70–79. doi:10.1093/geronb/58.2.P70.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Brown, J., Bowling, A., & Flynn, T. (2004). Models of quality of life: a taxonomy, overview and systematic review of the literature. European Forum on Population Ageing Research, 2004. Sheffield: Department of Sociological Studies.Google Scholar
Burns, N., & Grove, S. K. (1997). The practice of nursing research conduct, critique, & utilization. Philadelphia: W.B. Saunders and Co.Google Scholar
Byrne, B. M. (2001). Structural equation modelling with AMOS: Basic concepts, 280 applications and programming. London: LEA.Google Scholar
Cheng, S.-T., & Siankam, B. (2009). The impacts of the HIV/AIDS pandemic and socioeconomic development on the living arrangements of older. American Journal of Community Psychology, 44(1–2), 136–147. doi:10.1007/s10464-009-9243-y.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Cheng, S.-T., Li, K.-K., Leung, E. M. F., & Chan, A. C. M. (2011). Social exchanges and subjective well-being: do sources of positive and negative exchanges matter? The Journals of Gerontology Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences, 66(6), 708–718. doi:10.1093/geronb/gbr061.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
de Voos, S. (1990). Extended family living among older family in six Latin American countries. The Journals of Gerontology Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences, 45, 87–94. doi:10.1093/geronj/45.3.S87.Google Scholar
Dillon, M., & Wink, P. (2007). In the course of a lifetime: Tracing religious belief, practice and change. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
Fernández-Ballesteros, R. (2007). GeroPsychology. European perspectives for an aging world. Washington: Hogrefe & Huber Publishers.Google Scholar
Folstein, M. F., Folstein, S. E., & McHugh, P. R. (1975). Mini-mental state. A practical method for grading the cognitive state of patients for the clinician. Journal of Psychiatric Research, 12, 189–198.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Gaur, R., & Kaur, A. (2001). Life satisfaction among institutionalized and noninstitutionalized elderly. Indian Journal of Gerontology, 15(3, 4), 309–329.Google Scholar
Gragnolati, M., Jorgensen, O. H., Rocha, R., & Fruttero, A. (2011). Growing old in an older Brazil. Implications of population aging on growth, poverty, public finance, and service delivery. Washington: World Bank Publications. doi:10.1596/978-0-8213-8803-7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Grundy, E., & Read, S. (2012). Social contacts and receipt of help among older people in England: Are there benefits of having more children. The Journals of Gerontology Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences, 67, 742–754. doi:10.1093/geronb/gbs082.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Heo, J., & Lee, Y. (2010). Serious leisure, halth perception, dispositional optimism and life satisfaction among senior game participants. Educational Gerontology, 36, 112–126.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Hill, T. D. (2008). Religious involvement and healthy cognitive aging: patterns, explanations, and future directions. The Journals of Gerontology Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences, 63A, 478–479. doi:10.1093/gerona/63.5.478.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Hybels, C., Blazer, D., George, L., & Koenig, H. (2012). The complex association between religious activities and functional limitations in older adults. The Gerontologist, 52(5), 676–685. doi:10.1093/geront/gnr156.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Jankey, M. C., & Davey, A. (2006). Implications of selective optimization with compensation on the physical, formal and informal leisure patterns of adults. Indian Journal of Gerontology, 20(1, 2), 51–66.Google Scholar
Kinsella, K. G., & Velkoff, V. A. (2001). An aging world. U.S. Census Bureau, Series P95/01-1. Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office.Google Scholar
Kline, R. B. (2005). Principles and practices of structural equation modelling (2nd ed.). New York: The Guilford Press.Google Scholar
Koivumaa-Honkanen, H., Honkanen, R., Viinamaki, H., Heikkila, K., Kaprio, J., & Koskenvuo, M. (2000). Self-reported life satisfaction and 20-year mortality in healthy Finnish adults. American Journal of Epidemiology, 152, 983–991. doi:10.1093/aje/152.10.983.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Krause, N. (2004). Common facets of religion, unique facets of religion, and life satisfaction among older African Americans. The Journals of Gerontology Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences, 59, 109–117. doi:10.1093/geronb/59.2.S109.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Krause, N., & Rook, K. S. (2003). Negative interaction in later life: issues in the stability and generalizability of conflict across relationships. The Journals of Gerontology Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences, 58, 88–99.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Litwin, H. (2010). Social networks and well-being: a comparison of older people in Mediterranean and non-Mediterranean countries (pp. 599–608). Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences: The Journals of Gerontology Series B. doi:10.1093/geronb/gbp104.Google Scholar
Löckenhoff, C. E., De Fruyt, F., Terracciano, A., McCrae, R. R., De Bolle, M., Costa, P. T., Jr., et al. (2009). Perceptions of aging across 26 cultures and their culture-level associates. Psychology and Aging, 24(4), 941–954. doi:10.1037/a0016901.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Maroco, J. (2010). Análise de equações estruturais: fundamentos teóricos, software e aplicações [Structural equation analysis: Theoretical fundamentals, software and applications]. Pêro Pinheiro: Report Number.Google Scholar
Oerlemans, W. G. M., Bakker, A. B., & Veenhoven, R. (2011). Finding the key to happy aging:a day reconstruction study of happiness. Journal of Gerontology Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences, 66B(6), 665–674. doi:10.1093/geronb/gbr040.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Rijken, M., & Groenewegen, P. P. (2008). Money does not bring well-being, but it does help! The relationship between financial resources and life satisfaction of the chronically ill mediated by social deprivation and loneliness. Journal of Community & Applied Social Psychology, 18(1), 39–53. doi:10.1002/casp.910.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Strine, T. W., Chapman, E. D. P., Ballluz, E. L. S., Moriarty, D. G., & Mokdad, E. A. H. (2008). The associations between life satisfaction, chronic illness, and health behaviors among U.S. community-dwelling adults. Journal of Community Health, 33, 40–50. doi:10.1007/s10900-007-90666-4.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division. (2009). World population ageing. New York: Author.Google Scholar
Van Willigen, J., & Chadha, N. K. (1999). Social aging in a Delhi neighborhood (130–138). London: Bergin & Garvey.Google Scholar
Williamson, G. (2005). Aging well: Outlook for the 21st century. In C. R. Snyder & S. J. Lopez (Eds.), Handbook of positive psychology (pp. 676–686). New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
World Health Organization. (2003). Directory of Research on Ageing in Africa: 1995–2003. Geneve: Switzerland.Google Scholar
Yoon, D. P., & Lee, E.-K. O. (2007). The impact of religiousness, spirituality, and social support on psychological well-being among older adults in rural areas. Journal of Gerontological Religion, Spirituality and Aging, 48(3/4), 281–298. doi:10.1300/J083v48n03_01.Google Scholar