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The effects of sociodemographic factors on quality of life among people aged 50 years or older are not unequivocal: comparing SF-12, WHOQOL-BREF, and WHOQOL-OLD

Authors Gobbens RJJ, Remmen R

Received 3 October 2018

Accepted for publication 11 January 2019

Published 30 January 2019 Volume 2019:14 Pages 231—239


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Richard Walker

Robbert JJ Gobbens,1–3 Roy Remmen3

1Faculty of Health, Sports and Social Work, Inholland University of Applied Sciences, Amsterdam, the Netherlands; 2Zonnehuisgroep Amstelland, Amstelveen, the Netherlands; 3Department of Primary and Interdisciplinary Care, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Antwerp, Antwerp, Belgium

Objective: The effects of sociodemographic factors on quality of life in older people differ strongly, possibly due to the fact that different measurement instruments have been used. The main aim of this cross-sectional study is to compare the associations of sex, age, marital status, education, and income with quality of life assessed with the Short-Form Health Survey (SF-12), the World Health Organization Quality of Life Questionnaire-BREF (WHOQOL-BREF), and the World Health Organization Quality of Life Questionnaire-Older Adults Module (WHOQOL-OLD).
Methods: The associations between sociodemographic factors and eleven quality of life domains were examined using a sample of 1,492 Dutch people aged ≥50 years. Participants completed the “Senioren Barometer”, a web-based questionnaire including sociodemographic factors, the SF-12, the WHOQOL-BREF, and the WHOQOL-OLD.
Results: All the sociodemographic factors together explained a significant part of the variance of all the quality of life domains’ scores, ranging from 5% to 17% for the WHOQOL-BREF, 5.8% to 6.7% for the SF-12, and 1.4% to 26% for the WHOQOL-OLD. Being a woman and being older were negatively associated with two and four quality of life domains, respectively. Being a woman, being married or cohabiting, and having higher education and a higher income were positively associated with six, six, one, and eleven quality of life domains, respectively.
Conclusion: Our study showed that the associations of sociodemographic factors and quality of life in middle-aged and older people depend on the instruments used to assess quality of life. We recommend that health care and welfare professionals focus particularly on people with a low income and carry out interventions aimed at improving their quality of life.

Keywords: quality of life, older people, sociodemographic factors, SF-12, WHOQOL-BREF, WHOQOL-OLD

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