The determinants of quality of life in a sample of older adults living in independent living communities
Quality of life is an important factor that affects both the physical and mental well-being of older adults. However, there is much debate over what elements make up quality of life. The CASP-19 is a theoretically-based measurement of quality of life that includes the factors of control, autonomy, self-realization, and pleasure. The purpose of this small-scale study was to explore how older adults residing in two independent living facilities in the United States experienced quality of life: what elements they believed influence it; how these elements related to the CASP-19 factors; and what biopsychosocial variables were related to quality of life. Interviews were conducted with 24 independent living residents within two continuous care retirement communities. Each participant was asked to rate their quality of life along a visual-analog slider scale. Qualitative interviews were carried out with 12 randomly selected participants. Semi-structured interview questions included: "What are the most important factors that make you rate your quality of life there (along the slider)". Biopsychosocial measures included Lubben's Social Support Network Scale (LSNS), relationship quality questions, the 15-item Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS-15), UCLA Loneliness scale, and a single-item subjective health question. Themes developed from the qualitative interview included Health, Relationships, Faith/Religion, Independence, Place, Staying Active, Contentment, Altruism/Generativity, Basic Needs/Personal Security, and Future. The CASP-19 and visual analog slider scale scores were highly correlated suggesting good concurrent validity. Themes which emerged from the qualitative interviews suggest the CASP-19 had good content validity. The CASP-19 was negatively correlated with loneliness and positively correlated with positive relationship quality and subjective health.
Thesis (Ph.D.)-- Wichita State University, Fairmount College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Dept. of Psychology