Journal of Cross-Cultural Gerontology

, Volume 27, Issue 4, pp 391–407 | Cite as

Life Satisfaction in Older Women in Latvia and Sweden—Relations to Standard of Living, Aspects of Health and Coping Behaviour

  • Vibeke HorstmannEmail author
  • Maria Haak
  • Signe Tomsone
  • Susanne Iwarsson
  • Anne Gräsbeck


To study and compare associations between life satisfaction and standard of living, health, and coping behaviour in older single-living women in two countries with different political, economical and cultural situations: Latvia and Sweden. Cross sectional data included 260 Latvian and 288 Swedish women, aged 75–84 and 80–89, from the ENABLE-AGE Survey Study. Life satisfaction was assessed by the question: All in all, how satisfied are you with your life? Standard of living was assessed by economic and housing conditions, and health by perceived and objective health and activities in daily living. Three factors, Fight, Helplessness, and Distraction, were obtained from the Coping Patterns Schedule. Correlations between Life satisfaction and standard of living, health, and coping were calculated. The variance in Life satisfaction explained by these variables was obtained in each sample by ordinal regression models. Life satisfaction was significantly lower in the Latvian sample than in the Swedish. Standard of living was lower and health poorer in the younger Latvian sample than in the Swedish, but more of the variance in Life satisfaction was explained in the Latvian sample by standard of living (18 % vs 2 %) and less by health (6 % vs 15 %). Coping factors explained 29 % of the variation in Life satisfaction in the Latvian sample as opposed to 15 % in the Swedish. For single-living older women low standard of living seems to be a more serious obstacle than poor health, making it difficult to obtain a reasonable life satisfaction.


Coping Health Life satisfaction Older women Standard of living 



The original project was funded by the European Commission (QLRT-2001-00334). This study was funded by the Swedish Research Council and the Swedish Council for Working Life and Social Research, and was accomplished within the context of the Centre for Ageing and Supportive Environments (CASE), Lund University, Sweden.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Vibeke Horstmann
    • 1
    Email author
  • Maria Haak
    • 1
  • Signe Tomsone
    • 2
  • Susanne Iwarsson
    • 1
  • Anne Gräsbeck
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Health Sciences (Institutionen för hälsa, vård och samhälle), Faculty of MedicineLund UniversityLundSweden
  2. 2.Department of RehabilitationRiga Stradins UniversityRigaLatvia
  3. 3.Danish Medicine AgencyLundSweden

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