A study published in Health and Quality of Life Outcomes lends support to the notion that successful aging can be affected by more than physical health. The article investigated the association between biological, psychological, and social approaches of successful aging on older individuals’ self-reported quality of life using a national random sample and a follow-up seven to eight years later.
Study findings indicated that only the psychological approach to successful aging was predictive of quality of life several years later at the time of follow-up. These results suggest that successful aging need not be construed as merely dependent upon one’s physical health, and that a more comprehensive conception of positive ageing (i.e., one that considers psychologically based process and outcomes) may be useful for attaining a better understanding of older adults’ quality and overall enjoyment of life.
It is noteworthy to mention that this study did suffer from longitudinal sampling bias due to death-related attrition. In other words, the less physically fit individuals were more likely to die before follow-up data could be collected from then. Hence, results should be considered with that study limitation in mind.
Bowling, A., & Iliffe, S. (2011). Psychological approach to successful ageing predicts future quality of life in older adults. Health and Quality of Life Outcomes, 9.