Journal of Community Health

, Volume 33, Issue 1, pp 40–50 | Cite as

The Associations Between Life Satisfaction and Health-related Quality of Life, Chronic Illness, and Health Behaviors among U.S. Community-dwelling Adults

  • Tara W. Strine
  • Daniel P. Chapman
  • Lina S. Balluz
  • David G. Moriarty
  • Ali H. Mokdad
Original Paper

Abstract

The primary purpose of this article was to examine the associations between life satisfaction level and health-related quality of life (HRQOL), chronic illness, and adverse health behaviors among adults in the U.S. and its territories. Data were obtained from the 2005 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, an ongoing, state-based, random-digit telephone survey of the noninstitutionalized U.S. population aged ≥18 years. An estimated 5.6% of U.S. adults (about 12 million) reported that they were dissatisfied/very dissatisfied with their lives. As the level of life satisfaction decreased, the prevalence of fair/poor general health, disability, and infrequent social support increased as did the mean number of days in the past 30 days of physical distress, mental distress, activity limitation, depressive symptoms, anxiety symptoms, sleep insufficiency, and pain. The prevalence of smoking, obesity, physical inactivity, and heavy drinking also increased with decreasing level of life satisfaction. Moreover, adults with chronic illnesses were significantly more likely than those without to report life dissatisfaction. Notably, all of these associations remained significant after adjusting for sociodemographic characteristics. Our findings showed that HRQOL and health risk behaviors varied with level of life satisfaction. As life satisfaction appears to encompass many individual life domains, it may be an important concept for public health research.

Keywords

Life satisfaction Health behaviors Quality of life Chronic illness Surveillance 

References

  1. 1.
    Diener, E. (1994). Assessing subjective well-being: Progress and opportunities. Social Indicators Research, 31, 103–157.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Hutchinson, G., Simeon, D. T., Bain, B. C., Wyatt, G. E., Tucker, M. B., & Lefranc, E. (2004). Social and health determinants of well being and life satisfaction in Jamaica. The International Journal of Social Psychiatry, 50, 43–53.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Clemente, F., & Sauer, W. J. (1976). Life satisfaction in the United States. Social Forces, 54, 621–631.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Melin, R., Fugl-Meyer, K. S., & Fugl-Meyer, A. R. (2003). Life satisfaction in 18- to 64-year-old Swedes: In relation to education, employment situation, health and physical activity. Journal of Rehabilitation Medicine, 35, 84–90.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Fugl-Meyer, A. R., Melin, R., & Fugl-Meyer, K. S. (2002). Life satisfaction in 18- to 64-year-old Swedes: In relation to gender, age, partner and immigrant status. Journal of Rehabilitation Medicine, 34, 239–246.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Edwards, J. N., & Klemmack, D. L. (1973). Correlates of life satisfaction: A re-examination. Journal of Gerontology, 28, 497–502.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Tsutsui, Y., Hachisuka, K., & Matsuda, S. (2001). Items regarded as important for satisfaction in daily life by elderly residents in Kitakyushu, Japan. Journal of UOEH, 23, 245–254.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    O’Dea, I., Hunter, M. S., & Anjos, S. (1999). Life satisfaction and health-related quality of life (SF-36) of middle-aged men and women. Climacteric, 2, 131–140.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Hong, S. M., & Giannakopoulos, E. (1994). The relationship of satisfaction with life to personality characteristics. The Journal of Psychology, 128, 547–558.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Judge, T. A., Locke, E. A., Durham, C. C., & Kluger, A. N. (1998). Dispositional effects on job and life satisfaction: The role of core evaluations. The Journal of Applied Psychology, 83, 17–34.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Schoon, I., Hansson, L., & Salmela-Aro, K. (2005). Combining work and family life: Life satisfaction among married and divorced men and women in Estonia, Finland, and the UK. European Psychologist, 10, 309–319.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Diener, E., & Diener, M. (1995). Cross-cultural correlates of life satisfaction and self-esteem. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 68, 653–663.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Schimmack, U., Radhakrishnan, P., Oishi, S., Dzokoto, V., & Ahadi, S. (2002). Culture, personality, and subjective well-being: Integrating process models of life satisfaction. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 82, 582–593.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Kang, S. M., Shaver, P. R., Sue, S., Min, K. H., & Jing, H. (2003). Culture-specific patterns in the prediction of life satisfaction: Roles of emotion, relationship quality, and self-esteem. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 29, 1596–1608.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Mehlsen, M., Platz, M., & Fromholt, P. (2003). Life satisfaction across the life course: Evaluations of the most and least satisfying decades of life. International Journal of Aging & Human Development, 57, 217–236.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    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.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Whiteneck, G., Meade, M. A., Dijkers, M., Tate, D. G., & Bushnik, T. (2004). Forchheimer. Environmental factors and their role in participation and life satisfaction after spinal cord injury. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 85, 1793–1803.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Dijkers, M. P. (1999). Correlates of life satisfaction among persons with spinal cord injury. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 80, 867–876.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Putzke, J. D., Richards, J. S., Hicken, B. L., & DeVivo, M. J. (2002). Predictors of life satisfaction: A spinal cord injury cohort study. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 83, 555–561.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Brillhart, B. (2005). A study of spirituality and life satisfaction among persons with spinal cord injury. Rehabilitation Nursing, 30, 31–34.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Dowler, R., Richards, J. S., Putzke, J. D., Gordon, W., & Tate, D. (2001). Impact of demographic and medical factors on satisfaction with life after spinal cord injury: A normative study. The Journal of Spinal Cord Medicine, 24, 87–91.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Anderson, C. J., Krajci, K. A., & Vogel, L. C. (2002). Life satisfaction in adults with pediatric-onset spinal cord injuries. The Journal of Spinal Cord Medicine, 25, 184–190.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Richards, J. S., Bombardier, C. H., Tate, D., Dijkers, M., Gordon, W., Shewchuk, R., & DeVivo, M. J. (1999). Access to the environment and life satisfaction after spinal cord injury. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 80, 1501–1506.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Kemp, B. J., & Krause, J. S. (1999). Depression and life satisfaction among people ageing with post-polio and spinal cord injury. Disability and Rehabilitation, 21, 241–249.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Matthews, B. A., Baker, F., Hann, D. M., Denniston, M., & Smith, T. G. (2002). Health status and life satisfaction among breast cancer survivor peer support volunteers. Psychooncology, 11, 199–211.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Tate, D. G., & Forchheimer, M. (2002). Quality of life, life satisfaction, and spirituality: Comparing outcomes between rehabilitation and cancer patients. American Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, 81, 400–410.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Gueldner, S. H., Loeb, S., Morris, D., Penrod, J., Bramlett, M., Johnston, L., & Schlotzhauer, P. (2001). A comparison of life satisfaction and mood in nursing home residents and community-dwelling elders. Archives of Psychiatric Nursing, 15, 232–240.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Krause, N. (2003). Religious meaning and subjective well-being in late life. The Journals of Gerontology. Series B, Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences, 58, S160–S170.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Guerriero Austrom, M., Perkins, A. J., Damush, T. M., & Hendrie, H. C. (2003). Predictors of life satisfaction in retired physicians and spouses. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, 38, 134–141.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    McKenzie, B., & Campbell, J. (1987). Race, socioeconomic status, and the subjective well-being of older Americans. International Journal of Aging & Human Development, 25, 43–61.Google Scholar
  31. 31.
    Ardelt, M. (1997). Wisdom and life satisfaction in old age. The Journals of Gerontology. Series B, Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences, 52, P15–P27.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    Krause, N. (2004). Lifetime trauma, emotional support, and life satisfaction among older adults. Gerontologist, 44, 615–623.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  33. 33.
    Davis, N. C., & Friedrich, D. (2004). Knowledge of aging and life satisfaction among older adults. International Journal of Aging & Human Development, 59, 43–61.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. 34.
    Medley, M. L. (1976). Satisfaction with life among persons sixty-five years and older: A causal model. Journal of Gerontology, 31, 448–455.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  35. 35.
    Ragheb, M. G., & Griffith, C. A. (1982). The contribution of leisure participation and leisure satisfaction to life satisfaction of older persons. Journal of Leisure Research, 14, 295–306.Google Scholar
  36. 36.
    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, S109–S117.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  37. 37.
    Coke, M. M. (1992). Correlates of life satisfaction among elderly African Americans. Journal of Gerontology, 47, P316–P320.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  38. 38.
    Broman, C. L. (1997). Race-related factors and life satisfaction among African Americans. The Journal of Black Psychology, 23, 36–49.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. 39.
    Palmore, E., & Luikart, C. (1972). Health and social factors related to life satisfaction. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 13, 68–80.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. 40.
    Fernandez, R. M., & Kulik, J. C. (1981). A multilevel model of life satisfaction: Effects of individual characteristics and neighborhood composition. American Sociological Review, 46, 840–850.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. 41.
    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2005). Behavioral risk factor surveillance system user’s guide. Atlanta: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Available at: ftp://ftp.cdc.gov/pub/Data/Brfss/userguide.pdf (accessed June, 6, 2007).Google Scholar
  42. 42.
    Mokdad, A. H., Stroup, D. F., & Giles, W. H. (2003). Public health surveillance for behavioral risk factors in a changing environment. Recommendations from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Team. MMWR. Recommendations and Reports, 52(RR-9), 1–12.Google Scholar
  43. 43.
    Holtzman, D. (2003). The behavioral risk factor surveillance system. In D. S. Blumenthal & R. J. DiClemente (Eds.), Community-based health research: Issues and methods (pp. 115–131). New York: Springer.Google Scholar
  44. 44.
    Moriarty, D. G., Zack, M. M., & Kobau, R. (2003). The centers for disease control and prevention’s healthy days measures—population tracking of perceived physical and mental health over time. Health and Quality of Life Outcomes, 1, 37.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. 45.
    Andresen, E. M., Catlin, T. K., Wyrwich, K. W., & Jackson-Thompson, J. (2003). Retest reliability of surveillance questions on health related quality of life. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, 57, 339–343.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. 46.
    Mielenz, T., Jackson, E., Currey, S., DeVellis, R., & Callahan, L. F. (2006). Psychometric properties of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Health-Related Quality of Life (CDC HRQOL) items in adults with arthritis. Health and Quality of Life Outcomes, 4, 66, doi: 10.1186/1477-7525-4-66. Available at: http://www.hqlo.com/content/4/1/66 (accessed June 6, 2007).
  47. 47.
    Strine, T. W., Chapman, D. P., Kobau, R., Balluz, L., & Mokdad, A. (2004). Depression, anxiety, and physical impairments and quality of life in the U.S. noninstitutionalized population. Psychiatric Services, 55, 1408–1413.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. 48.
    Strine, T. W., & Chapman, D. P. (2005). Associations of frequent sleep insufficiency with health-related quality of life and health behaviors. Sleep Medicine, 6, 23–27.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. 49.
    Strine, T. W., Okoro, C. A., Chapman, D. P., Balluz, L. S., Ford, E. S., Ajani, U. A, & Mokdad, A. H. (2005). Health-related quality of life and health risk behaviors among smokers. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 28, 182–187.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. 50.
    U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2005. Available at: http://www.health.gov/dietaryguidelines/dga2005/document/pdf/Chapter9.pdf (accessed June 6, 2007).
  51. 51.
    Lucas, R. E., Clark, A. E., Georgellis, Y., & Diener, E. (2004). Unemployment alters the set point for life satisfaction. Psychological Science, 15, 8–13.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. 52.
    Brown, A., Kitchell, M., O'Neill, T., Lockliear, J. Vosler, A., Kubek, D., & Dale, L. (2001). Identifying meaning and perceived level of satisfaction within the context of work. Work, 16, 219–226.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  53. 53.
    Mroczek, D. K., & Spiro, A., 3rd. (2005). Change in life satisfaction during adulthood: Findings from the veterans affairs normative aging study. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 88, 189–202.Google Scholar
  54. 54.
    Patterson, F., Lerman, C., Kaufmann, V. G., Neuner, G. A., & Audrian-McGovern, J. (2004). Cigarette smoking practices among American college students: Review and future directions. Journal of American College Health, 52, 203–210.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. 55.
    Murphy, J. G., McDevitt-Murphy, M. E., & Barnett, N. P. (2005). Drink and be merry? Gender, life satisfaction, and alcohol consumption among college students. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 19, 184–191.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. 56.
    Korkeila, M., Kaprio, J., Rissanen, A., Koshenvuo, M., & Sorensen, T. I. (1998). Predictors of major weight gain in adult Finns: Stress, life satisfaction and personality traits. International Journal of Obesity, 22, 949–957.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. 57.
    Rosmond, R., Lapidus, L., Marin, P., & Bjorntorp, P. (1996). Mental distress, obesity and body fat distribution in middle-aged men. Obesity Research, 4, 245–252.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  58. 58.
    Elavsky, S., & McAuley, E. (2005). Physical activity, symptoms, esteem, and life satisfaction during menopause. Maturitas, 52, 374–385.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. 59.
    Rejeski, W. J., & Mihalko, S. L. (2001). Physical activity and quality of life in older adults. The Journals of Gerontology. Series A, Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences, 56(2), 23–35.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  60. 60.
    McAuley, E., Blissmer, B., Marquez, D. X., Jerome, G. J., Kramer, A. F., & Katula, J. (2000). Social relations, physical activity, and well-being in older adults. Preventive Medicine, 31, 608–617.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. 61.
    Schnohr, P., Kristensen, T. S., Prescott, E., & Scharling, H. (2005). Stress and life dissatisfaction are inversely associated with jogging and other types of physical activity in leisure time—The Copenhagen City Heart Study. Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports, 15, 107–112.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. 62.
    Broe, G. A., Jorm, A. F., Creasey, H., Grayson, D., Edelbrook, D., Waite, L. M., Bennett, H., Cullen, J. S., & Casey, A. (1999). Impact of chronic systemic and neurological disorders on disability, depression and life satisfaction. International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 13, 67–73.Google Scholar
  63. 63.
    Eng, W., Coles, M. E., Heimberg, R. G., & Safren, S. A. (2005). Domains of life satisfaction in social anxiety disorder: Relation to symptoms and response to cognitive-behavioral therapy. Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 19, 143–156.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. 64.
    Koivumaa-Honkanen, H., Honkanen, R., Antikainen, R., Hintikka, J., Laukkanen, E., Honkalampi, K., & Viinamäki, H. (2001). Self-reported life satisfaction and recovery from depression in a 1-year prospective study. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, 103, 38–44.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. 65.
    Headey, B., Kelley, J., & Wearing, A. (1993). Dimensions of mental health: Life satisfaction, positive affect, anxiety and depression. Social Indicators Research, 29, 63–82.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tara W. Strine
    • 1
  • Daniel P. Chapman
    • 1
  • Lina S. Balluz
    • 1
  • David G. Moriarty
    • 1
  • Ali H. Mokdad
    • 1
  1. 1.Division of Adult and Community HealthCenters for Disease Control and PreventionAtlantaUSA

Personalised recommendations