Inner strength as a mediator of the relationship between disease and self-rated health among old people

Authors


Correspondence to K. Viglund:

e-mail: kerstin.viglund@nurs.umu.se

Abstract

Aim

To explore inner strength as a mediator of the relationship between disease and self-rated health among older people.

Background

Qualitative research has indicated that inner strength is an essential resource for an individual affected by disease. A hypothesis of inner strength as a mediator of the relationship between disease and self-rated health was proposed. The theoretical framework of inner strength was based on the Model of Inner Strength.

Design

A cross-sectional design was used.

Method

The sample included 6119 participants from Finland and Sweden, in the ages of 65, 70, 75 and 80 years. The GERDA-Botnia questionnaire, which included the Inner Strength Scale and items related to diseases and self-rated health, was sent out between October and December 2010. Structural equation modelling was used to test a hypothesized model.

Results

The result indicated that having a disease was associated with poorer self-rated health and a lower degree of inner strength and a higher degree of inner strength was associated with better self-rated health. The result supported the hypothesis by indicating that inner strength partially mediated the relationship between disease and self-rated health.

Conclusion

This large cross-sectional study with participants from 65 to 80 years of age from Finland and Sweden showed that inner strength can be a resource for older people affected by disease. Increasing inner strength in older people affected by disease may be one intervention to support experiences of health despite disease.

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