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01-06-2014 | Uitgave 5/2014

Quality of Life Research 5/2014

Quality of life and related factors: a questionnaire survey of older people living alone in Mainland China

Quality of Life Research > Uitgave 5/2014
Yu Chen, Allan Hicks, Alison E. While



There is a growing population of older people living alone within the context of dramatic population ageing and changing living arrangements. However, little is known about the quality of life (QoL) of older people living alone in Mainland China. This study aimed to investigate QoL and its related factors among Chinese older people who live alone.


A stratified random cluster sample of 521 community-dwelling older people living alone in Shanghai completed a structured questionnaire through face-to-face interviews. QoL was measured using the Older People’s Quality of Life Questionnaire. Other data collected included self-rated health, physical health, cognitive function, depression, functional ability, loneliness, social support, physical activity, health services satisfaction, satisfaction with overall dwelling conditions and socio-demographic variables.


Older people living alone in Mainland China rated social relationships and financial circumstances as sources of low satisfaction within their QoL. Multiway analysis of variance showed that satisfaction with overall dwelling conditions, self-rated health, functional ability, depression, economic level, social support, loneliness, previous occupation and health services satisfaction were independently related to QoL, accounting for 68.8 % of the variance. Depression and previous occupation had an interaction effect upon QoL.


This study identified nine factors influencing the QoL of older people living alone in Mainland China. Interventions to increase satisfaction with dwelling conditions, improve economic level, social support and functional ability, decrease loneliness and depression and improve health services satisfaction appear to be important for enhancing their QoL.

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