How do you feel about...? Health outcomes in late life and self-perceptions of health and well-being.
ABSTRACT Research has shown over the years that the self-perceptions of older adults about their health and well-being may be at least as important as objective data for predicting the course of their health over time. I review a series of studies that span 30 years in which I and my colleagues have asked older adults in the community about their self-rated health and well-being across a spectrum of parameters, including self-rated health, social support, and mood (both negative and positive), and about whether their basic needs are being met. The social environment shapes perceptions of health and well-being, as does the body. Feelings, such as feelings about health and well-being, are therefore a key (but not the only) psychological-behavioral bridge between the body (genome and physiology) and society (environmental stressors and social context). Following a review of these studies, I attempt to place these perceptions of health and well-being in a social context, a context critical to understanding the consistency and strength of these studies (and others performed over many years) documenting the association between answers to the question "How do you feel about...?" and health outcomes over time.
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ABSTRACT: Background In Brazil, a rapidly aging country suffering from large inequalities, the study of the quality of life (QOL) of aged people is important for the future health. The aim of this study was to examine the associations among QOL, gender, and physical and psychosocial health in older Brazilian community-dwelling adults to identify factors that are associated with better QOL.Methods The ¿Aging, Gender and Quality of Life (AGEQOL)¿ study, which included 2,052 respondents aged 60 or older, was conducted in Sete Lagoas, Brazil between January and July 2012. The respondents answered questions regarding their socioeconomic and demographic information, health and social situations, cognitive impairment, depressive symptoms and family satisfaction. The authors also applied the Brazilian version the World Health Organization Quality of Life QOL Assessment-Brief Instrument (WHOQOL-BREF) and the World Health Organization Quality of Life Instrument-Older Adults Module (WHOQOL-Old). Ordinal logistic regression with the Proportional-Odds and Logit function was used to test the association between QOL and physical and psychosocial health according to age and socioeconomic status.ResultsOlder adults of both genders with five or more years of education, good self-rated health, an absence of depressive symptoms, and no family dysfunction reported better QOL. Retired men had a better QOL compared to non-retired men (OR¿=¿2.2; 95% CI¿=¿1.4¿3.2), but this association was not observed in females. Men living in mixed arrangements (OR¿=¿0.5; p¿=¿0.033) and women who did not practice physical activity (OR¿=¿0.7; p¿=¿0.022) tended to have poorer QOL.Conclusions We conclude that there are gender differences related to better QOL in this sample. Women with good physical and psychosocial health are more likely to have a better QOL. For men, the best QOL was associated with high socioeconomic conditions and good physical and psychosocial health.Health and Quality of Life Outcomes 11/2014; 12(1):166. DOI:10.1186/s12955-014-0166-4 · 2.10 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Despite an increasingly aging population, there is not yet enough knowledge available on the psychological resources that promote a state of well-being in old age in juxtaposition with the losses experienced at this stage of life. Given the importance of coping to optimal mental health, healthy ways of coping with losses related to the aging process are identified and characterized. Thirty-six semistructured in-depth interviews were carried out with adults aged 65 years and older in order to understand experiences that they assessed as losses associated with aging. Their ways of coping and their levels of subjective well-being were documented. The qualitative analysis yielded was complemented by quantitative analysis. Six types of losses were identified: health and/or physical capacity, quality of emotional relationships, death of loved ones, social integration, quality of life in a material sense, and quality of life in a cognitive sense. As determined by both the qualitative and quantitative analysis, the way of coping most strongly linked with high levels of subjective well-being was that of accommodation, followed by different ways of coping consistent with each type of loss. Healthy ways of coping are essential to maintaining subjective well-being in old age, with the most effective being identified. The mode of observation employed may be applied and improved in future research studies. Meanwhile, the results are relevant to prevention and intervention initiatives targeted at the mental health of elderly populations.Educational Gerontology 05/2014; 40(5). DOI:10.1080/03601277.2013.822203 · 0.39 Impact Factor