Predicting positive well-being in older men and women

Int J Aging Hum Dev. 2010;70(3):181-97. doi: 10.2190/AG.70.3.a.


The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of background, psychological, and social variables on older adults' well-being, and how this may differ for men and women. Participants included 800 adults from the 2002 Health and Retirement Study (HRS), aged 60 to 101 years old (M = 71.22, SD = 8.46), who completed the optional positive well-being module. Gender-based regression models revealed that for men, marital status, self-rated health, and depression were significant predictors and accounted for 32% of the variability in positive well-being. Similar to men, self-rated health and depression were significant predictors of well-being for women. Additional significant predictors for women included age, the importance of religion, and volunteer work. Combined, these variables explained 35% of the variance in women's positive well-being. These results can help us understand which variables are important to target when developing interventions to improve the well-being of older men and women.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging / psychology*
  • Depression / psychology*
  • Female
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Marriage / psychology
  • Middle Aged
  • Personal Satisfaction
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Quality of Life*
  • Regression Analysis
  • Religion and Psychology
  • Self Concept*
  • Sex Distribution
  • Social Behavior
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Volunteers