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Social Indicators Research

, Volume 54, Issue 3, pp 239–274 | Cite as

Health and Other Aspects of the Quality of Life of Older People

  • Alex C. Michalos
  • Anita M. Hubley
  • Bruno D. Zumbo
  • Dawn Hemingway
Article

Abstract

Celebrating the United Nations' International Year of Older Persons, in September 1999 a survey research project was undertaken throughout the Northern Interior Health Region (NIHR) of British Columbia. A total of 875 people completed 23-page questionnaires, the average age of the respondents was 69 and the range ran from 55 to 95 years. Responses to the SF-36 questionnaire indicated that for male respondents aged 55–64, the mean score for the 8 dimensions was 74.4. This mean was practically identical to that of the United States norm for such people (74.5) and lower than that for the United Kingdom (77.4). For male respondents aged 65 and older, the mean was 68.3. This was numerically higher but again practically the same as that of the norm for the United States (68.1). For females aged 55–64, the mean score for 8 dimensions was 73. This was superior to that of the United States norm of (70.6) for such people and lower than that for the United Kingdom (74.6). For female respondents aged 65 and older, the mean score was 65.4. This was practically identical to that of the United States (65.5).Comparing 18 average figures for our respondents on satisfaction with specific domains of life (e.g., financial security, health, friendships) and life as a whole with those of average adults in Prince George in November 1999, we found that in all but two cases the older people's scores were higher. Only in the cases of satisfaction with health and overall happiness were older people's scores lower, and the differences were not statistically significant.Eleven percent of our respondents reported that they had been a victim of a crime in the last year, compared to 38% in our 1997 adult victimization survey. Older people had a more benign view than ordinary adults of the growth of crime in their neighbourhood and city, although exactly 64% of both groups thought that crime had increased in Canada. Although older people had a more optimistic view than other adults of the increase in crime in their neighbourhoods, fewer of the former than the latter felt safe out at night. Nevertheless, compared to adults surveyed in 1997, the behaviour of respondents in our survey of older people was not as constrained by concerns of criminal victimization.Two or three of the 8 SF-36 health dimensions explained 37% of the variation in life satisfaction scores, 34% of variation in happiness scores, 34% in satisfaction with the overall quality of life scores and 22% in satisfaction with one's overall standard of living. In every case, Mental Health was the dimension that had the greatest impact on our four dependent variables.When all of our potential predictors were entered into a regression equation simultaneously, we found that they could explain 60% of the variance in life satisfaction scores, 44% in happiness scores, 58% in satisfaction with the overall quality of life scores and 59% in satisfaction with one's overall standard of living scores.

Keywords

Female Respondent Average Figure Life Score Average Adult Health Dimension 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alex C. Michalos
    • 1
  • Anita M. Hubley
    • 1
  • Bruno D. Zumbo
    • 1
  • Dawn Hemingway
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute for Social Research and EvaluationUniversity of Northern British ColumbiaPrince GeorgeCanada

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