Does aging mean a better life for women?

J Am Geriatr Soc. 1997 May;45(5):594-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1532-5415.1997.tb03093.x.


Objective: To study 10-year changes in selected quality of life dimensions in a cohort of aging Eastern Finnish women.

Design: Ten-year follow-up of a representative population sample.

Setting: The county of Kuopio in Eastern Finland.

Participants: In 1982, a representative sample (n = 296) of 50 to 60-year-old women was examined in the FIN-MONICA study. Ten years later, 241 of the participants were re-examined.

Measurements: Self-administered questionnaires were used to collect the data. Self-rated health, self-rated physical fitness, frequency of leisure time physical activity, functional capacity, reported symptoms, occurrence of diseases, and satisfaction with family life and economic situation were measured. In 1992, total life satisfaction at that moment and 5 years earlier were also assessed.

Results: The self-rated health assessment remained unchanged. During the 10 years from 1982 to 1992, the proportion of women who reported diagnosed cardiopulmonary diseases increased; angina pectoris, in particular, increased from 6% to 20%. However, even though their running ability had decreased, the number of women rating their physical fitness as good or fairly good increased from 23% to 32%. The participants reported significantly less headache and feelings of exhaustion than they had 10 years earlier. Average satisfaction with their economic situation increased, and satisfaction with family life remained the same. Thirty-seven percent of the women rated their current life situation as better than 5 years previously, 29% felt that it had remained the same, and 34% indicated that it had become worse during the past 5 years.

Conclusion: These data suggest that some quality of life dimensions may improve during aging in postmenopausal women.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Aging / physiology
  • Aging / psychology*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Finland
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Personal Satisfaction
  • Physical Fitness
  • Quality of Life*
  • Self Disclosure
  • Women's Health*