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Quality of life in people aged 65+ in Europe: associated factors and models of social welfare—analysis of data from the SHARE project (Wave 5)

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To analyse the clinical, sociodemographic and socioeconomic factors that influence perceived quality of life (QoL) in a community sample of 33,241 people aged 65+ and to examine the relationship with models of social welfare in Europe.


This was a cross-sectional study of data from Wave 5 (2013) of the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE). The instruments used in the present study were as follows: sociodemographic data, CASP-12 (QoL), EURO-D (depression), indicators of life expectancy and suicide (WHO), and economic indicators (World Bank). Statistical analysis included bivariate and multilevel analyses.


In the multilevel analysis, greater satisfaction in life, less depression, sufficient income, better subjective health, physical activity, an absence of functional impairment, younger age and participation in activities were associated with better QoL in all countries. More education was only associated with higher QoL in Eastern European and Mediterranean countries, and only in the latter was caring for grandchildren also related to better QoL. Socioeconomic indicators were better and QoL scores higher (mean = 38.5 ± 5.8) in countries that had a social democratic (Nordic cluster) or corporatist model (Continental cluster) of social welfare, as compared to Eastern European and Mediterranean countries, which were characterized by poorer socioeconomic conditions, more limited social welfare provision and lower QoL scores (mean = 33.5 ± 6.4).


Perceived quality-of-life scores are consistent with the sociodemographic and clinical characteristics of participants, as well as with the socioeconomic indicators and models of social welfare of the countries in which they live.

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This paper uses data from SHARE Wave 5 release 1.0.0, as of March 31, 2015 (DOI: 10.6103/SHARE.w5.100). The SHARE data collection has been primarily funded by the European Commission through the 5th Framework Programme (project QLK6-CT-2001-00360 in the thematic programme Quality of Life), through the 6th Framework Programme (projects SHARE-I3, RII-CT-2006-062193, COMPARE, CIT5- CT-2005-028857, and SHARELIFE, CIT4-CT-2006-028812) and through the 7th Framework Programme (SHARE-PREP, N° 211909, SHARE-LEAP, N° 227822 and SHARE M4, N° 261982). Additional funding from the US National Institute on Aging (U01 AG09740-13S2, P01 AG005842, P01 AG08291, P30 AG12815, R21 AG025169, Y1-AG-4553-01, IAG BSR06-11 and OGHA 04-064) and the German Ministry of Education and Research, as well as from various national sources, is gratefully acknowledged (see for a full list of funding institutions). The authors would like to specifically acknowledge gratefully the Organisme de Salut Pública de la Diputació de Girona (Dipsalut) for the funding, and the Institut d’Assistència Sanitària de Girona (IAS) and the Institut d’Estadística de Catalunya (IDESCAT) for their collaboration.


The study received funding from European Commission 7th Framework Programme (SHARE M4, No 261982). Project: SHARE (Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe).

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Correspondence to Josep L. Conde-Sala.

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All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional research committee (Institut d’Assistència Sanitària de Girona, IAS) and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. All participants signed informed consent.

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Conde-Sala, J.L., Portellano-Ortiz, C., Calvó-Perxas, L. et al. Quality of life in people aged 65+ in Europe: associated factors and models of social welfare—analysis of data from the SHARE project (Wave 5). Qual Life Res 26, 1059–1070 (2017).

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