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Satisfaction with Life in Mid-Age and older Canadians in the CLSA: Examining Personality and Minority Stress

Abstract

Satisfaction with Life (SWL) is an important component of healthy aging. We sought to examine the determinants of SWL in a large sample (n = 24,221) of mid-aged and older Canadians, with a specific emphasis on the roles of personality and minority stress variables. After accounting for demographic variables, we cross-sectionally examined the contribution of health-related variables, personality traits, and minority stress variables on a continuous measure of SWL. Health-related variables (i.e., self-rated general health, depressive symptoms, activities of daily living, social support availability, caregiving status) accounted for the most variance (24.6%) in SWL. Though accounting for only a small amount of additional variance, personality traits (1.4%) and minority stress variables (0.6%) were statistically associated with SWL. Openness to experience was negatively associated with SWL, whereas neuroticism, agreeableness, emotional stability, and conscientiousness were positively associated. In the full model, minority stress indicators were significantly associated with SWL. For example, self-perceived social standing was positively associated with SWL in the sample. Further, non-White participants reported significantly lower SWL than White participants. Additionally, individuals who reported a higher social standing within their community had higher SWL. Participants who identified as gay, lesbian, or bisexual reported higher SWL when compared to heterosexual participants. These findings highlight the importance of considering the social determinants of SWL to promote health equity for an aging population.

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Data Availability

Data are available from the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging (www.clsa-elcv.ca) for researchers who meet the criteria for access to de-identified CLSA data.

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Acknowledgements

This research was made possible using the data/biospecimens collected by the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging (CLSA). Funding for the CLSA is provided by the Government of Canada through the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) under grant reference: LSA 94473 and the Canada Foundation for Innovation. This research has been conducted using the CLSA dataset Baseline Tracking Dataset version 3.2, Baseline Comprehensive Dataset version 3.1, under Application Number 170321. The CLSA is led by Drs. Parminder Raina, Christina Wolfson, and Susan Kirkland.

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Correspondence to Arne Stinchcombe PhD.

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Ms. Shawna Hopper holds a Master’s scholarship from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. Ms. Nicole G. Hammond is funded by the Frederick Banting and Charles Best Canada Graduate Scholarship Doctoral Awards (CGS-D) program. Ethical review of the CLSA protocol was conducted by the Ethical, Legal, and Social Issues Committee, falling under the jurisdiction of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), and research ethics board approval was then acquired from each research site. The University of Ottawa REB approved the analyses presented here, approval number H-07-21-7271.

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The opinions expressed in this manuscript are the author’s own and do not reflect the views of the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging (CLSA).

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Hopper, S., Hammond, N.G. & Stinchcombe, A. Satisfaction with Life in Mid-Age and older Canadians in the CLSA: Examining Personality and Minority Stress. Applied Research Quality Life (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11482-022-10074-8

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11482-022-10074-8

Keywords

  • Life satisfaction
  • Aging
  • Personality
  • Minority
  • CLSA