Quality of Life Research

, Volume 27, Issue 5, pp 1269–1275 | Cite as

Association of midlife value priorities with health-related quality of life, frailty and mortality among older men: a 26-year follow-up of the Helsinki Businessmen Study (HBS)

  • Annele Urtamo
  • Hannu Kautiainen
  • Kaisu H. Pitkälä
  • Timo E. Strandberg



Personal values influence behavior and decision making, but their long-term associations with health-related quality of life (HRQoL), frailty, and mortality are less clear. We studied these associations from midlife to old age in a 26-year follow-up of the Helsinki Businessmen Study (HBS) cohort.


In 1974, 1320 clinically healthy men (born 1919–1934) reported in a 12-item questionnaire their personal values. In 2000, a mailed questionnaire, including assessment of HRQoL with RAND-36 (SF-36) instrument, was sent to survivors, and 1025 men responded. In 2000, the presence of phenotypic frailty was assessed using modified Fried criteria including indicators of shrinking, physical weakness, exhaustion, and physical inactivity. Mortality through December 31, 2000 was verified from national registries.


Using a factor analysis, the data of the 12-item questionnaire of personal values were loaded in 3 factors: valuing health (“Health”), enjoyable and varying life (“Enjoyment”), and comfort and work-oriented life (“Work-life-balance”). Adjusted for age, we found a significant positive association between valuing “Health” in midlife and RAND-36 domains of Physical functioning (p = .032) and Vitality (p = .005) in old age. “Health” also predicted less frailty (p = .008), and “Enjoyment” was associated with higher mortality (p = .017).


Value priorities of men assessed in midlife had long-term associations with HRQoL and frailty in old age, and they may also predict mortality.


Personal values RAND-36 Functional aging Prevention Disability 



This study was supported by Helsinki University Hospital VTR (EVO)—funding and Academy of Finland (311492).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors have no conflict of interest to report.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in this study were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional research committee (Ethical approval by the Ethical committee of the Department of Medicine, Helsinki University Central Hospital) and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Annele Urtamo
    • 1
    • 2
  • Hannu Kautiainen
    • 1
    • 2
  • Kaisu H. Pitkälä
    • 1
    • 2
  • Timo E. Strandberg
    • 3
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of General Practice and Primary Health CareUniversity of HelsinkiHelsinkiFinland
  2. 2.Unit of Primary Health CareHelsinki University Central HospitalHelsinkiFinland
  3. 3.Helsinki University HospitalUniversity of Helsinki, ClinicumHelsinkiFinland
  4. 4.Center for Life Course Health ResearchUniversity of OuluOuluFinland

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