Quality of Life and Wellbeing in Australian Adults Aged Fifty Years and Over

Sofia Robleda-Gomez (2013). Quality of Life and Wellbeing in Australian Adults Aged Fifty Years and Over Professional Doctorate, School of Psychology, The University of Queensland.

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Author Sofia Robleda-Gomez
Thesis Title Quality of Life and Wellbeing in Australian Adults Aged Fifty Years and Over
School, Centre or Institute School of Psychology
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2013-03-01
Thesis type Professional Doctorate
Supervisor Professor Nancy Pachana
Dr Nancye Peel
Total pages 199
Language eng
Subjects 170102 Developmental Psychology and Ageing
Abstract/Summary Although it is very important to understand psychological problems and illness, it is just as vital to develop our comprehension of wellbeing and quality of life (QOL) in order to complement the largely disease-based focus of scientific research. However, this type of research is lacking particularly in older adults. Because the population of the world is ageing, and the proportion of the population aged 60 and over is increasing at an unparalleled rate, it is vital that more research be conducted in this population. Further, there have been empirical arguments that QOL is best measured from an individual perspective. Therefore, a pilot study with 50 participants was run to determine the practicality of administration of the Schedule for the Evaluation of Individual Quality of Life—direct weighting ([SEIQOL-DW]; Hickey et al., 1996), in a sample of Australian adults aged 50 years and over (M age = 70 years, age range = 54-89 years, 58% female), as this individualised self-rating of QOL had not been tested in Australia before. It was concluded that the SEIQOL-DW was a feasible instrument to utilise for measuring QOL in Australian older adults living in the community. The main study of this thesis aimed to explore a set of holistic factors that could be related to QOL and psychological wellbeing (PWB), and to increase our knowledge and explore QOL and PWB in different age groups of Australian older adults. PWB was measured using the Ryff scales of Psychological Wellbeing. The main factors of interest were attitudes to ageing (AAQ), ageing perceptions (APQ), life orientation (LOT; optimism), emotional and instrumental social support, psychological distress (measured with the Kessler 10), life events, self-rated health (SRH), socio-economic status (measured via expectations of income management and level of education), and living arrangements. One hundred and fifty one participants were included in the analyses (M age = 67.4 years, age range 50-95 years, 68.9% female). QOL Index scores and total PWB scores were divided into first, second, and third tertiles, with the third tertile representing those scoring highest in each measure. There were significant QOL group differences in psychological distress, APQ subscales of Timeline Chronic, Timeline Cyclic (all p < .005), and Negative Consequences (p = .05), and the AAQ subscale of Psychosocial Loss (p < .005), with higher QOL groups generally scoring less on these negative influences. There were significant group differences in optimism, the PWB subscales of Autonomy, Environmental Mastery, Self-Acceptance, total PWB (all p < .005), Positive Relations, Purpose in Life (p < .05), the AAQ Physical Change subscale, (p < .001), and income management (p = .005), with higher QOL scorers mostly achieving higher scores on these positive factors. For PWB, there were significant group differences in psychological distress, the APQ subscales of Timeline Chronic, Timeline Cyclic, Negative Consequences, Emotional Representations, and the AAQ Psychosocial Loss (all p < .001), with higher PWB scorers generally scoring less on these negative variables. There were also significant group differences in QOL Index scores, Social Network, optimism, the APQ subscales of Positive Consequences, Control Positive, Control Negative, and AAQ subscales of Physical Change and Psychological Growth (all p < .002), as well as SRH, and income management, (p < .05) with higher PWB groups generally achieving higher scores on these positive factors. Age group differences were found for the APQ Positive Consequences, Negative Consequences, and Control Negative ageing perspectives (all p < .002). Age was found to be a significant positive predictor of the QOL Index (p =.004) and there were significant age group differences in the Personal Growth and Positive Relations subscales of PWB (p < .05). Age group differences were also found via a qualitative analysis of QOL domains. These findings have important implications as they help to advance the literature on predictors and factors related to QOL and PWB in different age groups of older adults, and provide new insights into different holistic ways of enriching these important positive health variables in Australian older adults.
Keyword older adult
quality of life
psychological wellbeing

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Created: Mon, 11 Nov 2013, 21:09:20 EST by Sofia Robleda Gomez on behalf of Faculty of Social & Behavioural Sciences