Journal Article

Associations of Environmental Factors With Quality of Life in Older Adults

Robbert J J Gobbens and Marcel A L M van Assen

in The Gerontologist

Published on behalf of The Gerontological Society of America

Volume 58, issue 1, pages 101-110
Published in print January 2018 | ISSN: 0016-9013
Published online May 2017 | e-ISSN: 1758-5341 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/geront/gnx051
Associations of Environmental Factors With Quality of Life in Older Adults

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  • Geriatric Medicine
  • Biological Sciences
  • Psychology
  • Care of the Elderly
  • Gerontology and Ageing

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Abstract

Purpose of the Study

Environmental factors play an important role in the quality of life of older people who often have difficulty maintaining physical, psychological, and social functioning. In this study, we aimed at (a) developing a measurement instrument assessing the factors of older adults’ perceptions of their environment, (b) examining the associations of these environmental factors with quality of life domains physical health, psychological, social relations, and environmental, controlling for background characteristics.

Design and Methods

Associations between environmental factors and quality of life domains were examined in a cross-sectional study using a sample of 1,031 Dutch people aged 65 years and older. Participants completed a Web-based questionnaire, the “Senioren Barometer.” Forty-two questions on environmental factors were asked, and quality of life domains were assessed by the WHOQOL-BREF.

Results

Seven scales (comprising 3–9 items) of environment were constructed—housing, facilities, nuisance, residents, neighborhood, stench/noise, and traffic. All quality of life domains (physical, psychological, social, environmental) were associated with at least one environmental scale. Housing, residents, and nuisance were associated with 4, 3, and 2 domains, respectively. Facilities, neighborhood, stench/noise, and traffic were associated only with quality of life environmental.

Implications

This study showed that multiple environmental factors are associated with quality of life in older people. To support independent living in older people health and social care professionals and policymakers may need to carry out interventions, in particular focusing on housing, residents, and nuisance.

Keywords: Environmental factors; Quality of life; Older people; Cross-sectional study; Factor analysis

Journal Article.  6438 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Geriatric Medicine ; Biological Sciences ; Psychology ; Care of the Elderly ; Gerontology and Ageing

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