Determinants of quality of life in community-dwelling older adults: comparing three cut-offs on the excellent-to-poor spectrum

Qual Life Res. 2017 Feb;26(2):283-289. doi: 10.1007/s11136-016-1394-3. Epub 2016 Aug 24.


Purpose: The aim of this study was to identify modifications in health, economic and social determinants of quality of life (QoL) in community-dwelling older adults when using different cut-offs to defining favorable QoL.

Methods: Data of year 2011 annual assessment in 1003 older men and women from the Lc65+ cohort study were used. Overall QoL was self-rated as 'excellent,' 'very good,' 'good,' 'fair,' or 'poor.' To identify significant health (self-rated health, SF-12v2 physical and mental health), economic (financial situation), and social (living with others, being socially supported, emotional support, group activities participation) determinants of QoL, a cut-off was set at three different positions to define favorable QoL on the 'excellent' to 'poor' spectrum: at least 'good' (model 1); at least 'very good' (model 2); and 'excellent' only (model 3).

Results: In all three models, bivariable analyses indicated significant associations between QoL and at least one variable from each health, economic, and social dimension. In multivariable analyses, only health-related variables remained significantly associated with QoL in model 1. Model 3 additionally retained financial situation. In model 2, QoL was positively associated with physical health [odds ratio (OR) 1.10, p < 0.001], mental health (OR 1.12, p < 0.001), self-rated health (OR 2.43, p < 0.001), group activities participation (OR 1.43, p = 0.037), being socially supported (OR 1.58, p = 0.024), and not reporting financial difficulties (OR 1.76; p = 0.036).

Conclusions: Using different cut-offs to defining favorable QoL results in important changes in the number and type of significant health, economic and social determinants. A cut-off between 'good' and 'very good' appears to best reflect the multidimensional nature of QoL.

Keywords: Health; Older people; Quality of life; Socioeconomic factors.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aging / psychology*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Quality of Life / psychology*
  • Residence Characteristics