Determinants of quality of life in ageing populations: Results from a cross-sectional study in Finland, Poland and Spain

Alberto Raggi, Barbara Corso, Nadia Minicuci, Rui Quintas, Davide Sattin, Laura De Torres, Somnath Chatterji, Giovanni Battista Frisoni, Josep Maria Haro, Seppo Koskinen, Andrea Martinuzzi, Marta Miret, Beata Tobiasz-Adamczyk, Matilde Leonardi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: To comprehensively identify the determinants of quality of life (QoL) in a population study sample of persons aged 18-50 and 50+. Methods: In this observational, cross-sectional study, QoL was measured with the WHOQOL-AGE, a brief instrument designed to measure QoL in older adults. Eight hierarchical regression models were performed to identify determinants of QoL. Variables were entered in the following order: Sociodemographic; Health Habits; Chronic Conditions; Health State description; Vision and Hearing; Social Networks; Built Environment. In the final model, significant variables were retained. The final model was re-run using data from the three countries separately. Results: Complete data were available for 5639 participants, mean age 46.3 (SD 18.4). The final model accounted for 45% of QoL variation and the most relevant contribution was given by sociodemographic data (particularly age, education level and living in Finland: 17.9% explained QoL variation), chronic conditions (particularly depression: 4.6%) and a wide and rich social network (4.6%). Other determinants were presence of disabling pain, learning difficulties and visual problems, and living in usable house that is perceived as non-risky. Some variables were specifically associated to QoL in single countries: age in Poland, alcohol consumption in Spain, angina in Finland, depression in Spain, and self-reported sadness both in Finland and Poland, but not in Spain. Other were commonly associated to QoL: smoking status, bodily aches, being emotionally affected by health problems, good social network and home characteristics. Conclusions: Our results highlight the importance of modifiable determinants of QoL, and provide public health indications that could support concrete actions at country level. In particular, smoking cessation, increasing the level of physical activity, improving social network ties and applying universal design approach to houses and environmental infrastructures could potentially increase QoL of ageing population.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0159293
JournalPLoS One
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Medicine(all)


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