The relationship between physical health and subjective well-being in middle-aged and older German adults: A nationally representative longitudinal study
Although average life expectancy has increased in the last century, this lengthening of the lifespan is not necessarily associated with maintenance of quality of health or freedom from debility. Thus, the issue of health in later life is an important and complex issue to define and measure. Furthermore, although aging is associated with functional, cognitive, and health declines, high degrees of stability (or increase) of subjective well-being, are consistently observed in conjunction with advancing age. Previous research has suggested that health has long been accepted as a contributing factor to sustained well-being into later adulthood, but few studies have substantiated this notion. Thus, the current study had three main aims: 1) to examine the structure of the construct ‘physical health’ by assessing the variables of self-rated health, functional limitation, number of physical illnesses, and pulmonary functioning, 2) to assess the trajectories of the health variables and the subjective well-being variables over time, and 3) to investigate the relationship between subjective well-being and health and age cross-sectionally as well as longitudinally from both a top-down and bottom-up perspective. Data from the German Aging Survey (DEAS), an ongoing, population-based, representative survey of individuals residing in Germany whose ages range from approximately 40 to 85 years at baseline, were used in the current study from Waves 1 (1996), 2 (2002), 3 (2008), and 4 (2011). Findings from the present study help to elucidate the complex relationship between physical health and subjective well-being during middle and old age.
Minahan, Jillian, "The relationship between physical health and subjective well-being in middle-aged and older German adults: A nationally representative longitudinal study" (2016). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI10190499.