This research was supported by an individual training grant (K01 NR0105556) and a grant from the Rural Health Care Research Center (R3P20NR009009-05S1), both from the National Institute of Nursing Research, and a grant from the Jeanette Lancaster Fund, School of Nursing, University of Virginia. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institute of Nursing Research or the National Institute of Health. For further information, contact: Marianne Baernholdt, PhD, MPH, RN, Assistant Professor, School of Nursing and Department of Public Health Sciences, University of Virginia, PO Box 800782, 202 Jeanette Lancaster Way, Charlottesville, VA 22903; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Quality of Life in Rural and Urban Adults 65 Years and Older: Findings From the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey
Article first published online: 6 FEB 2012
© 2012 National Rural Health Association
The Journal of Rural Health
Volume 28, Issue 4, pages 339–347, Autumn 2012
How to Cite
Baernholdt, M., Yan, G., Hinton, I., Rose, K. and Mattos, M. (2012), Quality of Life in Rural and Urban Adults 65 Years and Older: Findings From the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. The Journal of Rural Health, 28: 339–347. doi: 10.1111/j.1748-0361.2011.00403.x
- Issue published online: 21 OCT 2012
- Article first published online: 6 FEB 2012
- older adults;
- quality of life;
Purpose: The proportion of people over 65 years of age is higher in rural areas than in urban areas, and their numbers are expected to increase in the next decade. This study used Andersen's behavioral model to examine quality of life (QOL) in a nationally representative sample of community-dwelling adults 65 years and older according to geographic location. Specifically, associations between 3 dimensions of QOL (health-related QOL [HQOL], social functioning, and emotional well-being) and needs and health behaviors were examined.
Methods: The 2005-2006 National Health and Nutrition Examination survey was linked with the 2007 Area Resources File via the National Center for Health Statistics’ remote access system. Frequencies and distribution patterns were assessed according to rural, adjacent, and urban locations.
Findings: Older adults reported high levels of QOL; however, rural older adults had lower social functioning than their urban counterparts. Older blacks and Hispanics had lower scores than whites on 2 dimensions of QOL. Associations between QOL and needs and health behaviors varied. Although activities of daily living were associated with all 3 dimensions, others were associated with 1 or 2 dimensions.
Conclusions: The lower scores on social functioning in rural areas suggest that rural older adults may be socially isolated. Older rural adults may need interventions to maintain physical and mental health, strengthen social relationships and support, and increase their participation in the community to promote QOL. In addition, older blacks and Hispanics seem more vulnerable than whites and may need more assistance.