Determinants of successful aging using a multidimensional definition among Chinese elderly in Singapore

Tze Pin Ng, Birit F P Broekman, Matthew Niti, Xinyi Gwee, Ee Heok Kua
American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry 2009, 17 (5): 407-16

OBJECTIVE: Most studies of successful aging have used restricted definitions based on the absence of disability and identified a small number of predictors. The authors aimed to examine whether a broad multidimensional definition of successful aging has good construct validity and identified a wider range of predictors that are relevant for multifaceted interventions.

METHODS: Cross-sectional and longitudinal data analyses were performed on 1,281 community-living Chinese elderly of 65 years and above in the Singapore Longitudinal Aging Study cohort. Successful aging was measured in multiple dimensions of functioning and wellness: cognitive and affective status, physical health, social functioning and engagement and life satisfaction, and a summary composite measure created across dimensions to form a dichotomous variable. Potential determinants included sociodemographic, psychosocial, behavioral variables.

RESULTS: Successful aging was determined in 28.6% of respondents and in multivariate models was significantly (p <0.05) associated with age (OR = 0.90), female gender (OR = 1.37), > or =6 years of education (OR = 2.31), better housing (OR = 1.41), religious or spiritual beliefs (OR = 1.64), physical activities and exercise (OR = 1.90), and low or no nutritional risk (OR = 2.16).

CONCLUSION: In contrast to findings based on more restricted biomedical definitions of successful aging, a multidimensional definition of successful aging identified more variables including demographic status, psychosocial support, spirituality, and nutrition as salient determinants.

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