Socioeconomic position, resilience, and health behaviour among elderly people

Int J Public Health. 2012 Apr;57(2):341-9. doi: 10.1007/s00038-011-0294-0. Epub 2011 Sep 13.


Objectives: Healthy psychological functioning, the ability to respond rapidly to environmental changes, has been associated with better health outcomes. Less work has examined the association with health behaviour. This study explores whether resilience (a specific expression of healthy psychological functioning) is positively associated with health behaviour in an elderly population aged ≥65 years and whether this association differs in different socioeconomic groups.

Methods: Resilience was measured in 3,942 elderly participating in a population-based cohort study (KORA-Age study) in Germany through a short version of the Resilience Scale developed by Wagnild and Young. Regression analyses were performed by socioeconomic position (low/high educational level or income) for two outcome variables, i.e. high consumption of fruit and vegetables and high/moderate physical activity.

Results: Resilient people were more likely to consume ≥5 servings of fruit and vegetables a day and to perform high/moderate physical activity as compared to non-resilient people (ORs ranging from 1.5 to 2.2), irrespective of socioeconomic position.

Conclusions: Resilience could provide an important starting point for health promotion strategies, addressing resources rather than deficits and risk factors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Diet / psychology
  • Diet / statistics & numerical data
  • Educational Status
  • Female
  • Germany / epidemiology
  • Health Behavior*
  • Humans
  • Income
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Odds Ratio
  • Psychological Tests
  • Resilience, Psychological*
  • Socioeconomic Factors