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01-10-2013 | Uitgave 8/2013

Quality of Life Research 8/2013

Explaining quality of life of older people in the Netherlands using a multidimensional assessment of frailty

Quality of Life Research > Uitgave 8/2013
Robbert J. J. Gobbens, Katrien G. Luijkx, Marcel A. L. M. van Assen



Although frailty was originally a medical concept, nowadays more and more researchers are convinced of its multidimensional nature, including a psychological and social domain of frailty as well as a physical domain. The objective of this study was to test the hypothesis that the prediction of quality of life by physical frailty components is improved by adding psychological and social frailty components.


This cross-sectional study was carried out with a sample of Dutch citizens. A total of 1,031 people aged 65 years and older completed a Web-based questionnaire containing the Tilburg Frailty Indicator for measuring physical, psychological, and social frailty, and the WHOQOL-BREF for measuring four quality of life domains (physical health, psychological, social relations, environmental).


The findings show that the prediction of all quality of life domains by eight physical components of frailty was improved after adding four psychological and three social frailty components. The psychological frailty component ‘feeling down’ significantly improved the prediction of all four quality of life domains, after controlling for the effects of background characteristics and all other frailty components.


This study emphasizes the importance of a multidimensional assessment of frailty in the prediction of quality of life in older people.

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