J Epidemiol Community Health 65:542-547 doi:10.1136/jech.2009.101758
  • Research report

Proximal predictors of change in quality of life at older ages

  1. Gopalakrishnan Netuveli1,2
  1. 1International Centre for Lifecourse Studies in Society and Health, London, UK
  2. 2Department of Primary Care and Public Health, Imperial College London, London, UK
  3. 3Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University College London, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Elizabeth Webb, Department of Primary Care and Public Health, Imperial College London, Reynolds Building, Charing Cross Campus, St Dunstan's Road, London W6 8RP, UK; elizabeth.a.webb{at}
  • Accepted 18 January 2010
  • Published Online First 6 August 2010


Objective To investigate whether changes in health, social and economic circumstances predict change in quality of life (QoL) at older ages.

Design Secondary analysis, using multiple regression analyses, of waves 1 and 3 of the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing.

Setting England, 2002–6.

Participants A nationally representative sample of non-institutionalised adults aged over 50 years living in England with non-missing data for the variables of interest (N=4848).

Main Outcome Measure QoL in 2006, with reference to QoL in 2002, both measured using the CASP-19 score.

Results Mean QoL decreased over the 4 years, with becoming depressed (β −0.12) and developing difficulties with activities of daily living (β −0.08) contributing to this decrease. Improvements in family relationships (β 0.10), the neighbourhood (β 0.08) and perceived financial position (β 0.07) each counteracted the decline in QoL. Initial QoL strongly predicted QoL at follow-up (β 0.46). Regression models explained 59% of variation in QoL, and there were small differences between age and gender groups.

Conclusions The maintenance of good QoL in older aged people is enabled by the avoidance of depression, maintenance of physical function, good neighbourhood standards, family relationships and financial circumstances.


  • Funding This research was funded by Economic and Social Research Council grant number RES-596-28-0001.

  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.