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01-02-2011 | Uitgave 1/2011

Quality of Life Research 1/2011

Which aspects of subjectively reported quality of life are important in predicting mortality beyond known risk factors? The Lothian Birth Cohort 1921 Study

Quality of Life Research > Uitgave 1/2011
Catherine Murray, Caroline E. Brett, John M. Starr, Ian J. Deary



To investigate which aspects of Quality of Life (QoL) (physical health, psychological, social-relationships, and environment) are important in predicting mortality.


A sample of 448 (194 men and 254 women) relatively healthy older adults reported their QoL using the WHOQOL-BREF. After a 9-year follow-up, survival analysis was carried out using Cox’s proportional hazards regression.


Only the General Health item (HR = 0.75, 95% CI: 0.64–0.89) and Physical Health Domain mean score (HR = 0.90, 95% CI: 86–0.95) significantly predicted mortality when controlling for age and sex. The single-item General Health measure was the stronger predictor of mortality and remained significant after socio-demographic, psychological (personality and cognition), health behaviour and health status measures were controlled for independently. When all measures were simultaneously controlled for, none of the items or domains on the WHOQOL-BREF significantly predicted mortality.


Items addressing health-related QoL are the most important when predicting mortality. The findings support research demonstrating that subjectively rated, single-item general health questions accurately predict survival over and above socio-demographic, psychological, health behaviour and health status measures.

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